Donations to the Collection
We hope that the following commonly asked questions will make you more familiar with how the Society handles donations to the permanent collection.
Q: Does the Society accept everything that is offered for donation?
A: According to our Mission Statement, the Society collects items relating to the history of Nobles County. If your donation does not pertain to our Mission, the Staff will make suggestions for a more appropriate home for your item(s).
Q: Why do I have to fill out paperwork for my donation?
A: All donations MUST have signed paperwork in order become part of the Society’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 Society, 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 Society. Every item accepted is listed, numbered and cataloged. Each is 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 Society if you are not sure that you want to give them to us.
Q: What will the Society do with my donation once it is accepted?
A: Your donation may be placed in the Permanent Collection or the Education 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/ volunteers and are exhibited only under safe and secure conditions. Items in the Education Collection will be utilized in special programs including school tours, education classes, demonstrations, display at Pioneer Village and other education activities.
Q: When will my donation be on exhibit?
A: The Society changes exhibits periodically, 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 Society utilizes an artifact. The Society 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.