Statement of Ethics

The Natural History Museum of Utah was created by the Utah State Legislature and placed at the University of Utah  with specific responsibilities to:

  • recover, manage and care for collections from State lands 
  • collect and exhibit natural history objects 
  • make available educational and outreach programs to Utah’s residents and schoolchildren 
  • provide technical assistance to museums throughout the state

The Museum also is a repository for collections recovered on federally managed public lands, and cares for objects to which it holds title as a result of donations, bequests and other conveyances. In the broadest sense, the Museum’s work is grounded in the scholarship and stewardship of the collections, which we hold in trust for the public, and in our mission as a public educational institution.

As a non-profit institution, a state agency and an organized research and teaching unit of the University of Utah, the Museum complies with:

  • applicable local, state, and federal laws, and international conventions
  • with specific legal standards governing fiduciarial and trust responsibilities
  • with the Utah Public Officers’ and Employees’ Ethics Act
  • with the University of Utah’s formally adopted policies and procedures
  • with the University of Utah's Ethical Standards and Code of Conduct and Research Handbook.

As an institutional member of both the American Association of Museums and the Utah Non-Profits Association, the Museum adheres to:

  • the American Association of Museum’s Code of Ethics for Museums 
  • the Standards of Ethics for Nonprofit Organizations in Utah

Museum staff are guided by various discipline-specific ethics statements and guidelines listed as Appendix C of the Statement of Ethics. 

These laws, legal standards, conventions, policies, procedures, codes of conduct and ethical statements apply to all Museum work environments, including field research sites and all other on or off-site programs and activities.

The Natural History Museum of Utah Statement of Ethics has been informed by these legal and ethical standards, but is not intended to replace or supplant them.  It is not a Policy and Procedure Manual. It is a summary statement of the NHMU’s basic ethical principles and responsibilities, which are broadly applicable to full and part-time staff, faculty, and also to volunteers, adjuncts, and Associates Board members when they are acting as an agent of, representing or making use of information obtained as a result of their association with the Museum.

We recognize that museums, including this Museum, enjoy a high degree of public trust.  To maintain that confidence, we must act with integrity, prudence, intellectual honesty, foresight and appropriate transparency, in the best interests of the collections and other resources we hold in trust and of the diverse publics we serve. To that end, by clarifying ethical responsibilities within this Statement, we expect to develop a better understanding of the mission and basic ethical responsibilities of the Museum among everyone who works at the NHMU or has a close affiliation with it.