Over the years, the McMinn County Living Heritage Museum has acquired the majority of its  artifacts through public donations. Currently the Museum houses over 7,000 artifacts.

If you own an object that is part of McMinn County history and would be interested in sharing it–not only at the present time, but for generations to come–the McMinn County Living Heritage Museum would like to hear from you.

How do you donate artifacts to the Museum? Call 423-745-0329, and make an appointment with the Mary Alton, Collections Manager. By making an appointment, you can be sure that the Museum staff will be able to take time to thoroughly examine your possible donation. If you can’t bring your object(s) in, you can always bring a photograph. When you meet with the Collections Manager, you will be asked to provide:

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

The Collections Manager will then take this information to the Staging Committee, which is governed under the McMinn County Living Heritage Museum Board of Trustees. The Staging Committee meets every second Tuesday of the month.

  • Questions considered by the Staging Committee:  1. Does the object relate in a significant way to the history of McMinn County? 2. How much information is known about the object? 3. Does the Museum already have a similar item in the collection? 4. Can the object be acquired without any restrictions (such as requirements for long-term loan, permanent display, or exhibition of an entire collection)? 5. 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 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 put on display or archived. Upon receipt, you will receive a letter of acknowledgment for your records because your donation is tax deductible according to current IRS regulations. 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 501c(3) a conflict of interest, so you may want to find a qualified appraiser to examine your object before donation. Sometimes an artifact is not 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 change exhibits frequently, providing the opportunity for different artifacts to rotate in and out of displays. 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, email the Collections Manager malton@livingheritagemuseum.com or call the Museum at 423-745-0329 today!