Object Donation Inquiry
If you are interested in donating an object, we ask that you read the following information and then complete the form linked at bottom of page. Please do not bring any object to the museum or send any object through the mail for donation until a member of our staff contacts you.
Please note that the process to donate an object to Historic Columbia can often take several weeks or months. There are many things to consider when choosing to accept a donation, such as:
- How is the object connected to Columbia or to one of the properties operated by Historic Columbia?
- How can this object support current interpretation?
- What information is known about the object?
- What is the object’s condition?
- Does the museum currently have a similar or an identical object within the collection?
- Does Historic Columbia currently have the means to care for the object in terms of storage space and/or conservation needs?
If Historic Columbia would like to proceed with viewing the object(s) in person, a staff member will arrange a date and time for you to temporarily leave the object(s) in Historic Columbia’s physical possession. You will be given a receipt indicating the object(s) deposited. This does not give Historic Columbia ownership of the object(s), nor does it allow Historic Columbia to lend, display, or modify your object(s) in any way.
Objects can only be accessioned into the collection via a majority vote from Historic Columbia’s Collection Committee. This committee, comprised of volunteers with museum experience and/or a vested interest in Historic Columbia’s collection, meets quarterly. While staff may propose the object to the Committee, the latter are bound by established guidelines for acceptance that are found in HC’s Collections Management Policy. Operating under these guidelines, the committee will examine the proposal and object to determine if the object is suitable for the collection. Following the committee’s vote, a staff member will notify you of their decision.
Please remember there are limited storage options for our collection, and size is a common reason the Committee is unable to approve a donation. We also encourage you to explore our online collection catalog to see what objects we currently own before reaching out with a donation, as “like” objects can rarely be added. However, Historic Columbia still actively seeks additions to our collection, as it has for the last 60 years. Historic Columbia may make an effort to find an additional museum or institution that may wish to accept your object(s).
If your object(s) are accepted, we require a signed gift agreement, also known as a deed of gift, that serves as proof that you donated the object(s) to Historic Columbia. This document declares that you are the owner of said object(s) with full legal right to transfer ownership and all rights of the object(s), and that you are donating the object(s) irrevocably and unconditionally.