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Deaccessions & Repatriations

Deaccessions & Repatriations

With more than 600 canoes in the Museum’s permanent collection, The Canadian Canoe Museum periodically reviews the watercraft to uphold and maintain professional standards for the collection. The Museum continues to steward objects that we have formally accessioned into the collection as long as they remain relevant to our mission and vision and we can properly care for them. The Canadian Canoe Museum also recognizes that the repatriation or permanent return of objects to their source community is an important measure of collections management.

Occasionally, objects may be considered for deaccession (or permanent removal) to improve the integrity and quality of the collection. Moving artifacts to another institution often increases that piece’s likelihood of being exhibited and made accessible to the public!

Deaccessioning is a multi-step process that the Museum’s curatorial staff, Collections Committee, and Board of Directors carefully consider.

The Museum’s Collections Committee and Board of Directors consider an object for deaccessioning if it meets the criteria below. The Museum does its due diligence by reviewing all documentation and provenance information and consulting with experts, when necessary.

Deaccessioning Criteria

The Canadian Canoe Museum’s process for deaccessioning an object is made in accordance with the Canadian Museum’s Association Deaccessioning Guidelines and The Canadian Canoe Museum’s Collection Policy.

An object must meet at least one of the following criteria for The Canadian Canoe Museum to consider it for deaccession:

  • Scope: Does the object no longer fall within the scope of collections as defined by the Museum Collection Policy?
  • Stewardship: Can the Museum provide proper care for the object?
  • Condition: Has the object deteriorated beyond the point of usefulness?
  • Duplication: Are there duplicate objects in the collection in better condition, or are better representations of the type?
  • Authenticity: Is the object a poor representation of its type, or is its documentation lacking, making it valueless for exhibition, scholarship or education?
  • Time in Collection: Has the object been in the collection for at least three years?

Items Currently Being Deaccessioned

In the spirit of transparency, The Canadian Canoe Museum will list any objects in the process of being deaccessioned here.

Currently, there are no objects being deaccessioned.


The Canadian Canoe Museum recognizes that First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples designed, built and used the first canoes and kayaks, and the Museum has an ethical role to play in honouring their cultural histories and stories within the collection. The Museum holds as a core principle the idea that working with Indigenous communities to represent canoes, kayaks and other artifacts and their roles, histories and associated traditional knowledges is of the utmost importance to our commitment to ethical stewardship.

As described in the Historical Considerations and Repatriation sections of the Moved to Action report by The Canadian Museums Association, the plundering of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Nations was motivated and bolstered by the overt genocidal policies and practices of the Canadian government. The removal of cultural belongings happened in conjunction with land dispossession, forced relocation and attempted erasure of Indigenous Nations.

Indigenous Peoples seeking the return of their cultural belongings and ancestral remains have long asserted that these were removed under duress due to political or religious coercion, dire economic circumstances, and other circumstances that meet the definition of duress. Any acquisitions taken from Indigenous communities under duress can be considered unethical. Repatriation is defined as the return of cultural belongings to a source communitie(s).

Repatriation Policy

As part of engaging with Indigenous communities and taking forward its responsibilities to them, The Canadian Canoe Museum recognizes that repatriation claims may arise. We view repatriation claims as a process of strengthening relationships and strengthening the Museum.

The Canadian Canoe Museum’s Repatriation Policy
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The Canadian Canoe Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are situated on the Treaty 20 Michi Saagiig territory and the traditional territory covered by the Williams Treaties First Nations. The Canadian Canoe Museum also recognizes the contributions of Indigenous Peoples including First Nations, Inuit and Métis, in shaping this community and country as a whole.

As an organization that stewards the world’s largest and most significant collection of canoes, kayaks & paddled watercraft, we will honour and share the cultural histories and stories within the collection in all that we do.

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