Code of Ethics

“To preserve, restore, and operate the farm as a historical, educational, and recreational resource to serve the general public as a museum, education center, and recreation park.”

Guiding Principles

The Dudley Foundation has an obligation to:

  1. accept, preserve, maintain, or dispose of collected items in a manner which makes each collection and its accompanying data available for research by the museum and by cooperating institutions;
  2. comply with all pertinent laws and regulations while making collections or acquiring specimens;
  3. develop exhibitions and conduct programs which illustrate, interpret, and explain the agricultural and sociological history of North Guilford


Museum governance is a public trust responsible for the institution’s service to society. As the governing authority, the Board of Directors of the Dudley Foundation (Foundation) protects and enhances the museum’s collections and programs and its physical, human and financial resources. It ensures that all these resources support the museum’s mission.

The Board of Directors ensures that:

  • all those who work for or on behalf of the Foundation understand and support its mission and public trust responsibilities
  • its members understand and fulfill their trusteeship and act corporately, not as individuals
  • the museum’s collections and programs and its physical, human and financial resources are protected, maintained and developed in support of the museum’s mission
  • it is responsive to and represents the interests of society
  • it maintains the relationship with staff/volunteers in which shared roles are recognized and separate responsibilities respected
  • working relationships among directors, employees and volunteers are based on equity and mutual respect
  • professional standards and practices inform and guide museum operations
  • policies are articulated and prudent oversight is practiced
  • governance promotes the public good rather than individual financial gain.

Conflict of Interest

The Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers should never abuse their official positions
or their contacts within the Museum community, compete with Foundation, or bring
discredit or embarrassment to the Foundation in any activity, museum-related or not.
No individual may use his or her position in the Foundation for personal gain or to
benefit another at the expense of the Foundation, its mission, its reputation, and the
society it serves.
The terms and restrictions listed in this Code should be clearly understood by all
Directors, staff, volunteers, interns, contractors, or vendors doing business with the


Volunteers play an active and important role in the daily operation of the Foundation.
Directors and staff must be supportive of volunteers, receive them as fellow workers,
and willingly provide them with appropriate training.
Volunteers have a responsibility to the Foundation as well, especially those with access
to collections, programs, and privileged information. Access to the Foundations
activities is a privilege that does not free the volunteer from adherence to these


Management, Maintenance, and Conservation

The stewardship of collections requires the public trust and carries with it the
presumption of rightful ownership, permanence, and accurate documentation, as well as
conservation, accessibility, and responsible disposal or deaccession. Therefore the
museum must consider the interests of the public for which it holds the collections in
trust, a donor’s intent in the broadest sense, and the institution’s own financial well-
being. Procedures established for the evaluation of the condition of the collections and
for their general and special maintenance must be followed. Failing this, the Foundation
is ethically obliged either to correct the deficiency or to dispose of the collections.

Acquisition and Disposal

If the Foundation inadvertently acquires an object that is later determined to have been
exported or recovered in violation of the Foundation’s acquisition policy, the Foundation
will promptly return it to the owner or to another appropriate recipient.
Objects in the collections should be retained if they continue to be useful to the
purposes and activities of the Foundation; if they continue to contribute to the integrity of
the collections; and if they can be properly stored, preserved, and used. Objects may be
disposed of by deaccessioning when the above conditions no longer exist, or when
such action would ultimately improve or refine the collections.
Proceeds from the sale of nonliving collections shall be used only for the acquisition or
direct care of collections.


No member of the Foundation staff shall, in his or her official capacity, give appraisals
for the purpose of establishing the tax-deductible value of gifts or purchases offered to
the Foundation. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service prohibits appraisals from a recipient
institution that is directly involved in the transaction. Only appraisals from disinterested
third parties are accepted. No member of the Foundation staff knowingly shall appraise,
identify, or otherwise authenticate objects for other persons or agencies under
circumstances that could encourage or benefit illegal, unethical, or irresponsible traffic
in such objects. Identification and authentication may be given for professional or
educational purposes.


The public must have reasonable access to the collections on a nondiscriminatory
basis. A primary responsibility of the Foundation is to safeguard its collections;
therefore, it may regulate access to them.


Truth in Presentation

Exhibits are to be historically and scientifically honest and avoid perpetuating myths or stereotypes, and further the museum’s mission. Thus, the museum ensures that

  • programs support the Foundation’s mission and public trust responsibilities
  • programs are founded on appropriate research
  • programs are accessible and encourage participation of the audience consistent with its mission and resources
  • programs respect pluralistic values, traditions and concerns
  • revenue-producing activities and activities that involve relationships with external entities are compatible with the museum’s mission and support its public trust responsibilities
  • programs promote the public good rather than individual financial gain.

Approved by BOD March 12,2015