We hope that the following frequently asked questions will make you more familiar with how the Museum handles donations to the permanent collection.
Q: Does the Museum accept everything that is offered for donation?
A: According to our Mission Statement, the Museum collects items relating to the history of Blue Earth County. If your donation does not pertain to our Mission Statement, the Staff will make suggestions for a more appropriate home for your item(s).
Q: Should I just drop off my donation?
Q: Why do I have to fill out paperwork for my donation?
A: All donations MUST have signed paperwork in order to become part of the Museum’s collection. The donor may choose to remain anonymous, but we still must have signed paperwork in order to prove that the item belongs to the Museum, no matter how small the donation is.
Q: What’s the next step?
A: After the initial contact, the Collections Committee will meet to review the items. Those not accepted will be returned to the donor or otherwise disposed of in accordance with the donor's wishes. Limited storage space, duplication of objects in the collection and the condition of the offered piece affect our decision to accept an item. If accepted, the donor will receive Deed of Gift paperwork which transfers legal title of the gift to the Museum. Every item accepted is listed, numbered, cataloged and carefully stored.
Q: What if I change my mind?
A: Once the Deed of Gift has been signed, donations cannot be returned to the donor. Please do not offer items for donation to the Museum if you are not sure that you want to give them to us.
Q: What will the Museum do with my donation once it is accepted?
A: Your donation may be placed in the Permanent Collection or the Study Collection. Donations to the Permanent Collection are designated for preservation. These items are handled and processed according to the highest museum standards by trained professionals and volunteers and are exhibited only under safe and secure conditions. Items in the Study Collection will be utilized in special programs including school tours, education classes, demonstrations and other education activities.
Q: When will my donation be on exhibit?
A: The Museum changes exhibits periodically and we cannot guarantee that your donation will be on view at any given time. Space limitations and conservation concerns dictate that we cannot exhibit all of our artifacts at once. There are many objects that should not be exhibited frequently in order to protect them from handling, exposure to light and other potentially harmful conditions. However, exhibitions are not the only way a Museum utilizes an artifact. The Museum is a public institution, and collections are made available, by appointment only, for study by scholars and members of the public.
Q: Can I take a tax deduction on my donation?
A: Absolutely! The Code of Ethics written by the American Association of Museums (AAM) and the International Council of Museums (ICOM) prohibits museum professionals from engaging in appraisal-related activities. For your own records, we recommend that you obtain an independent appraisal. Your signed Deed of Gift serves as proof of your donation for tax purposes.