Collections Policy

Adopted April 27 2005
Revised June 10, 2017

Collections Mission Statement

It is the Policy of the Leather Archives & Museum (LA&M) to collect and expend its resources in the storage, preservation, and exhibition of the artifacts and evidence of Leather, BDSM, kink, and fetish lives, lifestyles and organizations, including but not limited to fraternal and commercial organizations, without regard to sexuality, race, gender, orientation or age-group representation, except as indicated in further paragraphs of this document.

It is the policy of the LA&M not to collect materials regarding LGBTQ+ activism or activities, unless such materials contain a significant relevance to Leather, BDSM, kink, and fetish communities, or the reasonable likelihood that the material is both of interest to the LA&M's Service Population and not otherwise being properly preserved elsewhere. It is the policy of the LA&M not to collect materials regarding general sexuality or specific categories of sexuality or sex practices without special consideration or reason, such as previous ownership by an obvious constituent of the LA&M's service population, or another direct connection to events, organizations, people, or places of significance to the LA&M’s Service Population.

Service Population

The Service Population of the LA&M is defined as all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, interested in the collection, preservation, study and interpretation of historical materials in all formats relating to the Leather/Levi, BDSM, kink and fetish sexualities, practices, lifestyles, and communities.

Geographical area and chronological period

All locations and periods.


“Collection Manager” refers to the Archivist & Collections Librarian and/or the Operations Director.


Donations in all formats require a preservation assessment by the collection manager before they will be accepted for accession. The following formats may be accepted:

  • Photographic media
  • 2D and 3D artwork
  • Paper documents and publications
  • Small objects and devices

The following formats may be accepted after an assessment by the Collections Manager regarding the LA&M’s resources and capacity to store and preserve the items:

  • Digital media
  • Audiovisual media
  • Leathers, textiles, and body accessories
  • Large objects, artifacts, artwork, and prints
  • Signs, banners, furniture and architectural artifacts
  • Plaques, trophies and three dimensional awards

It is the policy of the LA&M not to collect items such as BDSM devices and clothing if they are in usable condition and might still serve active members of the Leather, BDSM, kink, and fetish population unless there is an overriding historical interest on the specific item in question.

The LA&M may not accept items which the institution does not have the space or capacity (in resources or staff) to preserve indefinitely due to the format, medium, size, amount, or physical condition of the items.

Regardless of format, all potential donors are strongly encouraged to contact the LA&M to discuss the details of any donation before transferring items to the LA&M (See Accessions).


An item has been accessioned when the items have been received and a donation agreement has been filled out and signed by the donor and the collection manager, thereby transferring physical and intellectual ownership of the items to the LA&M.

All unsolicited items received without a donation or loan agreement and without prior assessment by the collection manager will be accepted as gifts to the LA&M. They may be auctioned or sold to benefit the LA&M, or accessioned into the collections if selected for permanent preservation.


All donations are subject to appraisal and deaccession at any time after donation by the Collections Manager in accordance with the guidelines detailed in this policy. Items within a collection may be deaccessioned under the following circumstances by the collection manager as a matter of normal operation:

  • The items are duplicates within the collection.
  • The item is printed on low-quality paper, such as newspaper, in which case a preservation copy may be made and the original destroyed.
  • The items are publications which are determined to be accessible elsewhere in the collections or in other collecting institutions.

Items within a collection may be deaccessioned under the following circumstances by the collection manager with the consent of the Executive Director:

  • The items are selected for removal due to their condition or as part of the collection manager’s appraisal of the collection.

Discrete items that are not associated with a collection or entire collections (all of the items received from one donor) may be deaccessioned under the following circumstances by the collection manager with the consent of the Board:

  • The collection or item falls outside of the collecting scope of the institution.
  • The collection or item has no documented provenance or accession information.
  • It is determined that the collection or item should be integrated with records in another repository.
  • It is determined that the LA&M does not have the space or capacity to preserve the collection or item, either temporarily or permanently, due to natural disaster, lack of resources, or due to the size, amount, or physical condition of the objects.

Deaccession Methods

The LA&M will not return items to donors upon deaccession. Items or collections that have been donated to the LA&M may be deaccessioned by one of the following methods at the discretion of the collection manager and the Executive Director:

  1. Permanent transfer to another collecting repository.
  2. Destruction.
  3. Auction or sale.

Transfer of Loans

Items or collections that are on loan to the LA&M must be returned to their owners or transferred to another appropriate repository with consent of the owners.


Gifts of cash, stocks, real estate or other non-collection materials are not included in or governed by this policy.

Monetary Appraisal

The LA&M does not provide appraisals of the monetary value of either permanent collections or potential donations. Please refer to one of the following organizations to contract a professional appraiser: the American Society of Appraisers, the International Society of Appraisers, or the Appraisers Association of America.

Access, Exhibition, and Loans

Donations may be made available to researchers, exhibited by the LA&M, digitized and published by the LA&M online or print, or temporarily loaned to another responsible institution for exhibition.

Restrictions and Special Circumstances

The application of this policy to specific collections or items may be modified by restrictions detailed in the donation agreement. More detailed policies may, from time to time, be enacted by the Board of Directors or by the collection manager to govern special circumstances unanticipated at the time of the adoption of this policy.


The LA&M neither approves nor disapproves the views expressed in materials included in the collection. The inclusion of an item is not to be considered an endorsement, official or otherwise, by the LA&M.