When an aquisitioned (catalogued in) item is disposed of, there is a procedure that is followed: first, it is offered back to the original donor (or heirs); failing that--or if the original donor or heirs--aren't interested--it is offered to another museum or institution where it is more appropriate; if all else fails, it may be sold. We are careful to remove the ID number for the very reason that you give: someone will spot it and immediately assume that it has been yanked off the shelves; sometimes some museums mighn't be as careful. BTW I can think of mighty few times this has happened.I'll also note that more than once I've seen museums with a table or two of items for sale at major Civil War Shows, with all their sale offerings still having museum ID numbers painted on them, and offered for sale so the proceeds could fund some museum project or expense.
It is an absolutely true statement--I do disagree 100%.Fairfield responded: "...I couldn't disagree with you more"
The nature of your argument reminds me of one of my husband's students: he said that when he graduated, he was going to become a college professor because all they did was walk into a room and talk. No idea as to what was involved, no clue as to the years of preparation or of lesson plans. Unless you have personally worked in a museum and witnessed all these egregious goings-on, you are at a disadvantage.