How Do You Donate Artifacts to the Museum?

Call (423) 745-0329 for any donation inquiries or to make an appointment with the Curator & Collections Manager. Please do not bring artifacts for donation to the museum without informing the museum or filling out a donation form found here.

By informing the museum of your wish to donate an artifact(s), you can be sure that museum staff will be able to take time to thoroughly examine your possible donation. If you are unable to make an appointment in person, or if you have numerous items you wish to donate together, you can send a completed donation form and photos of items you would like to donate to [email protected].

You will be asked to provide:

  • The age and origin of the object(s)
  • The history of the object(s)
  • The name, address, and phone number of the potential donor

The Curator & Collections Manager will then take this information to the accessions committee, which is governed by the McMinn County Living Heritage Museum Board of trustees.

Questions considered by the collections committee:

  • Does the object relate in a significant way to the history of McMinn County?
  • How much information is known about the object?
  • Does the museum already have a similar item in the collection?
  • Can the object be acquired without any restrictions (such as requirements for long-term loan, permanent display, or exhibition of an entire collection)?
  • Is the object in reasonable condition?
  • Can it be adequately stored and cared for by the museum?

After examining the object, the committee will vote on accepting it, and the Curator & Collections Manager will notify you of the committee’s decision. Because of the museum’s specific mission and limited resources, the museum can accept only those artifacts that meet the above-listed criteria. If accepted, the object will be documented and inventoried in the museum’s computer database, then archived or put on display. There is no guarantee that your items will be on permanent display due to limited exhibit space.

An artifact is not always immediately put on display. As the collection grows significantly every year, we are unable to display every item in the collection at one time. The Living Heritage Museum’s goal, however, is to rotate artifacts on display when possible, providing the opportunity for different artifacts to be seen by visitors.

The museum staff is forbidden by federal law from providing any information on the value of any object donated or potentially donated to the museum as the IRS considers such activity by a 501(c)(3) a conflict of interest, so you may want to find a qualified appraiser to examine your object before donation. The following organizations might be able to assist you. The museum does not determine their cost.

  • American Society of Appraisers (ASA) (800) 272-8258
  • Appraisers Association of America (AAA) (212) 889-5404
  • International Society of Appraisers (ISA) (312) 981-6778

Our artifacts are enormously important in helping to bring history to life, and the McMinn County Living Heritage Museum welcomes your donation.

For questions or to schedule an appointment, call the museum at (423) 745-0329 or reach out to the Curator & Collections Manager

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