Frequently asked questions about collection donations

Individuals interested in donating items to the collections should contact the collections department.

Acceptance of donations is subject to operational considerations of the New Mexico History Museum, policies of the Museum of New Mexico, and approval by the Board of Regents of the Museum of New Mexico.

Questions and Answers

Some frequently asked questions about donations:

Can I mail or drop off a donation?

Please contact museum staff first.

How long does it take for the museum to review proposed donations?

For a simple donation, the process takes about three to four months. But it can vary, especially if conditions or logistics are complicated. If a curator recommends your donation, it will first be discussed by the Collection Committee, which usually meets monthly. If your proposed donation is accepted by the Collections Committee and then by the Board of Regents, you will be contacted by a curator or registrar. The final step: issuing a Deed of Gift for the donation, which legally transfers the property to the museum.

Will the museum appraise my donation for its monetary value?

By law the museum cannot provide a value for your donation. However, professional appraisers will perform this service for a fee. To find a licensed appraiser in your area, contact one of the following organizations for a referral.

American Society of Appraisers

International Society of Appraisers

Appraisers Association of America

Will the museum exhibit the artifacts or documents in my donation?

We cannot guarantee that any object donated to the collection will be exhibited unless it’s expressly collected for that purpose. Only a small fraction of the collection is on view at any given time. However, we allocate a significant portion of our annual budget to maintaining optimal conditions in storage areas and galleries to ensure the long-term preservation of all collection materials. Objects from the collection are occasionally loaned to other institutions for temporary exhibitions, and many artifacts and documents in the collection are made available for research purposes

If I donate artifacts or documents to the museum, will they be returned to me or my family at our request?

The museum cannot return accessioned collection materials to the donor. Once the Collection Committee and Board of Regents accepts your donation for the collections, you will be asked to sign a Deed of Gift, which legally transfers ownership of the materials to the Museum.

Can artifacts and documents be removed from the museum collection?

With the Board of Regents’ approval, we may remove objects from the collection through a process called deaccessioning. Artifacts that are damaged beyond repair, have a condition that puts other parts of the collection at risk, duplicate other items, or are outside the scope of the collection may be considered for deaccessioning. Deaccessioned material may be transferred to another museum or cultural or educational organization, or destroyed if necessary.

Does the museum accept long-term loans?

While we do accept loan materials on a short-term basis in conjunction with exhibitions and other programs, we are not permitted by policy to accept objects on long-term loan.

Who should I contact?

Contact the collections department or a relevant curator for more information about donating.