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ACRA Code of Ethics

American Cultural Resources Association
Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct


This Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct is a guide to the ethical conduct of members of the American Cultural Resources Association (ACRA). The Code also aims at informing the public of the principles to which ACRA members subscribe. The Code further signifies that ACRA members shall abide by proper and legal business practices, and perform under a standard of professional behavior that adheres to high principles of ethical conduct on behalf of the public, clients, employees, and professional colleagues.

The ACRA Member's Responsibilities to the Public

A primary obligation of an ACRA member is to serve the public interest. While the definition of the public interest changes through ongoing debate, an ACRA member owes allegiance to a responsibly derived concept of the public interest. An ACRA member shall:
  • Have concern for the long-range consequences of that member's professional actions.

  • Be cognizant of the relevance to the public of that member's professional decisions.

  • Strive to present the results of significant research to the public in a responsible manner.

  • Strive to actively support conservation of the cultural resource base.

  • Strive to respect the concerns of people whose histories and/or resources are the subject of cultural resources investigation.

  • Not make exaggerated, misleading, or unwarranted statements about the nature of that member's work.

The ACRA Member's Responsibilities to the Client

An ACRA member is obligated to provide diligent, creative, honest, and competent services and professional advice to its clients. Such performance must be consistent with the ACRA member's responsibilities to the public interest. An ACRA member shall:
  • Exercise independent professional judgment on behalf of clients.
  • Accept the decisions of a client concerning the objectives and nature of the professional services provided unless the decisions involve conduct that is illegal or inconsistent with the ACRA member's obligations to the public interest.
  • Fulfill the spirit, as well as the letter, of contractual agreements.
  • Not provide professional services if there is an actual, apparent, or perceived conflict of interest, or an appearance of impropriety, without full written disclosure and agreement by all concerned parties.
  • Not disclose information gained from the provision of professional services for private benefit without prior client approval.
  • Not solicit prospective clients through the use of false or misleading claims.
  • Not sell or offer to sell services by stating or implying an ability to influence decisions by improper means.
  • Not solicit or provide services beyond the level or breadth of the professional competence of its staff or project team.
  • Solicit or provide services only if they can responsibly be performed with the timeliness required by its clients.
  • Not solicit or accept improper compensation for the provision of judgments or recommendations favorable to its clients.
  • Not offer or provide improper compensation as a material consideration in obtaining or sustaining client or prospective client favor.
  • Disclose information identified as confidential by its client only if required by law, required to prevent violation of the law, or required to prevent injury to the public interest.

The ACRA Member's Responsibilities to Employees

As an employer, an ACRA member firm has certain responsibilities to its employees, and shall strive to:
  • Comply with all applicable employment/labor laws and regulations.
  • Provide a safe work environment in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
  • Appropriately acknowledge work performed by employees.
  • Provide opportunities for the professional growth and development of employees.
  • Develop clear lines of communication between employer and employee, and provide employees with a clear understanding of their responsibilities.
  • Consistently maintain fair, equitable, and professional conduct toward its employees.

TheACRA Member's Responsibilities to Professional Colleagues

An ACRA member shall strive to contribute to the development of the profession by improving methods and techniques, and contributing knowledge. An ACRA member shall also fairly treat the views and contributions of professional colleagues and members of other professions. Accordingly, an ACRA member shall:
  • Act to protect and enhance the integrity of the cultural resources profession.
  • Accurately and fairly represent the qualifications, views, and findings of colleagues.
  • Review the work of other professionals in a fair, professional, and equitable manner.
  • Strive to communicate, cooperate, and share knowledge with colleagues having common professional interests.
  • Not knowingly attempt to injure the professional reputation of a colleague.



ACRA Headquarters
2101 L Street NW, Suite 300
Washington, D.C. 20037

Local: 202-367-9094
FAX: 866-875-6492
Email: Headquarters


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