Acknowledgment of harmful content

Arctos Acknowledgment of Harmful Content. The Arctos Community denounces all forms of racism, harassment, and discrimination and strives to be an inclusive environment. We acknowledge the existence of harmful content within the collection data available on the Arctos database and are committed to addressing this problem, including the presentation of racist and other derogatory language. Data in Arctos comes from Member Institutions, the Arctos Community, and external authorities including data from many different eras and regions.  Member Institutions are responsible for redacting or replacing harmful content in catalog records when the change does not violate collections best practices. When we encounter harmful content in external authorities we will make an effort to have the information addressed at the source. In some cases, the data must be preserved in its original form to retain authenticity and facilitate research. For example, collection records and their associated media may contain language that reflect historical place names or taxonomic identifications that are no longer acceptable or appropriate. This harmful content may go against the Arctos Community values but is provided as part of the historical record.

We welcome feedback. The Arctos database is not a complete record of the Member Institution’s holdings. Documentation for any cataloged item will vary due to when and how it was collected as well as how recently it was reviewed curatorially. While efforts are made to ensure the accuracy of the information available in Arctos, some content may contain errors. Arctos Member Institutions work with communities around the world to interpret their collections in order to promote a greater understanding of global heritage and, through consultation, will review information that is inaccurate or inappropriate. We encourage and welcome members of descendant communities, scholars, and others to contact us to confirm or clarify data found here. The Arctos Diversity and Inclusion Committee is always available for conversation and as a resource for Arctos and the wider museum community (email: Please use the “Comment or Report Bad Data” button wherever it appears on record pages or the link in the search results “Tools” menu when you notice an issue on the database to report.

This statement was written by the Arctos Diversity and Inclusion committee and approved by the Arctos Working Group. For further reference please see:   Briscoe L, et al. 2022. Shining Light on Labels in the Dark: Guidelines for Offensive Collections Materials. Collections: A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals 18(4).