15 FAM 770

Office of cultural heritage (obo/ops/ch)

(CT:OBO-72;   05-14-2018)
(Office of Origin:  OBO)

15 FAM 771  policy

15 FAM 771.1  General Policy

(CT:OBO-72;   05-14-2018)

The Office of Cultural Heritage, Directorate of Operations, Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO/OPS/CH) is responsible for the Department of State's (DOS) historically, culturally, or architecturally significant properties.  OBO/OPS/CH’s stewardship involves education, and proper maintenance and conservation.  This policy pertains to movable and immovable heritage properties and assets of historic, cultural, architectural, archaeological, and ethno-anthropological interest.  This includes archaeological sites, landscapes, buildings, structures, fine arts, decorative arts, works on paper, and other cultural heritage items.

15 FAM 771.2  Detailed Policy

(CT:OBO-72;   05-14-2018)

a. Historic Preservation:

(1)  OBO/OPS/CH identifies and documents historic properties included on OBO's working list of significant properties.  The list of significant properties includes properties that are:

(a)  On the UNESCO World Heritage List;

(b)  On another country’s equivalent to the National Register of Historic Places;

(c)  Locally protected in a country’s historic district or architectural overlay zone; or

(d) Listed or eligible for listing on the Secretary of State's Register of Culturally Significant Property.

    NOTE: OBO/OPS/CH maintains the list of significant properties on their SharePoint site.

(2)  For all significant properties, OBO/OPS/CH must review and approve any undertaking beyond basic maintenance.  If OBO/OPS/CH identifies any possible adverse effects on the property from that endeavor, post must propose mitigating measures.

(a)  Routine maintenance should follow best practices for building conservation, including preservation before replacement and replacement in kind.

(b)  Occupants are personally responsible for the proper stewardship of U.S. Government property while serving at post.  The occupant bears personal financial responsibility for the following, as they are not considered normal wear and tear:

(i)     Unapproved alterations;

(ii)    Damage to structures, grounds, or furnishings by the officer’s family members, personal guests and their families, and/or pets; and

(iii)    Damage as a result of blatant disregard for proper care. (See 15 FAM 245.)

(3)  OBO/OPS/CH reviews all capital construction projects and major renovations at significant properties, identifies adverse effects, and approves proposed mitigation.

        NOTE: Post must notify OBO/OPS/CH and local authorities immediately if any archaeological sites are unearthed during construction. All such sites must be protected, and they must be thoroughly documented before construction continues.

        All work (whether maintenance, renovation, or new construction) must respect host country laws and procedures for handling architectural and cultural heritage.

b. Heritage Collections

(1)  OBO/OPS/CH identifies and preserves all DOS’ antiques, works of art, and other cultural heritage objects.  OBO/OPS/CH guides, supports, and funds the identification, conservation, and monitoring of the DOS heritage collection.

(a)  Posts must report any potentially significant objects, including a gift that may fit these criteria, to OBO/OPS/CH for evaluation.

(2)  At posts with significant collections, OBO/OPS/CH professionally assesses the condition, provenance, and value of antiques, works of art, and other cultural heritage objects.

(a)  Post’s Property Management Officers must provide OBO/OPS/CH with copies of the following records:

(i)     Names of artists or makers;

(ii)    Historic associations and biographies;

(iii)    Donor letters;

(iv)   Bills of sales with purchase dates and sources;

(v)    Annotations regarding related published information; and

(vi)   Photographs.

      Posts must maintain originals of these records.  OBO/OPS/CH staff will provide posts with additional information to support the maintenance and preservation of heritage items.

NOTE: The RSO must ensure classified information and security devices are not in the photographs.

(3)  Posts must follow the OBO/OPS/CH guidance concerning the placement, routine care, environmental monitoring activities, moving, and storage of antiques, works of art, and other cultural heritage objects. To obtain item-specific instructions for routine care, environmental monitoring, and placement, contact OBO/OPS/CH.  (See 15 FAM 762 for guidance on removal and storage.)

(a)  To ensure the preservation of antiques, heritage collection artwork, or other cultural heritage objects, do not obstruct or move any item from the point of installation without first consulting OBO/OPS/CH.

(b)  Posts must store all furniture or furnishings removed from residences in a climate-controlled warehouse.  If U.S. Government facilities at post are inadequate and/or not climate controlled, posts must store the items in a secure non-U.S. Government climate-controlled warehouse at the expense of the residence’s occupant.

(4)  Property Management Officers must report any damage or deterioration of antiques, works of art, and other cultural heritage collection objects to the Cultural Heritage (CH) staff.  Posts should not attempt to remedy a problem without prior approval.  The CH staff will provide direction for selecting qualified professionals, soliciting bids, evaluating treatment proposals, and ensuring satisfactory project completion.

(5)  OBO/OPS/CH will evaluate heritage collection items for deaccession from the collection from time to time and at post’s request.  Post may not sell damaged or unusable items without OBO/OPS/CH approval.  Document all sale proceeds with a DS-132 and give the proceeds to OBO/OPS/CH. 

c.  Inventories

      Posts must inventory antiques, works of art, and other cultural heritage collection assets annually, paying particular attention to the condition assessment.  (See 15 FAM 774.)

15 FAM 772  Loans of Department-Owned Works of Art

(CT:OBO-72;   05-14-2018)

The State Department lends Department-owned works of art only in unusual circumstances.  The Director for OBO must approve special loans based on the Department’s diplomatic interest and the Ambassador’s recommendation regarding local, legal, or logistical issues.  A loan must include a binding agreement that the borrower covers all costs and will provide a certificate of insurance for the replacement value of the work of art.  Posts must contact OBO/OPS/CH for details.

15 FAM 773  CLOSINGS and Evacuations

(CT:OBO-72;   05-14-2018)

Before closing or evacuating, post must take appropriate measures to protect and transfer cultural heritage collection assets, as necessary.  Post’s emergency action plan should contain appropriate steps to safeguard these objects in the event of an emergency.  Post may request additional guidance on appropriate measures from OBO/OPS/CH.

15 FAM 774  Procedures for Annual Inventories

15 FAM 774.1  State Department

(CT:OBO-72;   05-14-2018)

a. Annual inventories of Government-owned (GO) items are an integral part of property accountability systems.  OBO requires each post to submit annual inventories of all cultural heritage collection assets.  Submit annual inventories using the Integrated Logistics Management System’s (ILMS) Asset Reports Physical Inventory Reports.  Antiques, works of art, and other cultural heritage collection objects should be flagged as ‘H’ in ILMS inventory lists.  Post and OBO/OPS/CH both receive an H-flagged inventory.

(1)  Posts must conduct and submit yearly inventories of the complete cultural heritage collection no later than March 15th to OBO/OPS/CH.

(2)  Posts must report lost or missing items from the previous inventory on Form DS-132, Property Disposal Authorization and Survey Report.  The Accountable Property Officer (APO) and the Ambassador must sign the inventories.  

(3)  Annual inventories should contain a complete description of each antique, work of art, and any other cultural heritage object.  Descriptions should include manufacturer, size, pattern, color, condition, acquisition cost, purchase date, appraised value, and appraisal date.  List items by building and room location. Provide the RPA Property ID for each building.

(4)  Every two years, post must upload current photographs of each cultural heritage collection item to SharePoint. For instructions on uploading to SharePoint, consult OBO/OPS/CH’s yearly ALDAC on the inventory process. Note that photographs should be clear images and only show the item.

NOTE: The RSO must clear all photographs with items in the background to ensure they do not depict (a) classified information, or (b) physical/technical security devices.

b. OBO/OPS/CH will not process requests for conservation funds until it receives and reviews all current inventories.

15 FAM 775  THROUGH 779  unassigned