Donating an Object to our Collection FAQs
DONATING OBJECTS TO MUSEUMS IS A WONDERFUL THING
Public donations are very important to helping us develop our collections. We would love to hear about any objects that you would like to donate.
If you have something that you think would be good for our collections just fill in the form below to send us the details. If you need any more information about donating an object, please email the museums. It is very important that you get in touch with us before bringing an object to the museums. Please see our Collections Development Policy 2019 for further Information.
If your object is accepted to our collections, we will arrange for you to meet a named staff member when you bring an object to the museum.
Front desk staff cannot take objects without a specific appointment.
Eight points to consider before getting in touch:
1. Do you take everything that is offered to you?
We are offered many objects each year and, unfortunately, we are not able to take everything that we are offered. As an accredited museum service, we have a collections development policy which you can see on this website. This policy lays out the sort of objects that we accept to our collections and any areas that we are particularly interested in developing.
2. What will happen after I offer you my object?
After you send us information on your object you will be contacted by a member of staff who may ask for some more specific details. Your offer will be taken to our Acquisitions Board, who discuss every item that we are offered. Once a decision has been made a member of staff will contact you again to let you know if we can accept your object. If your object is accepted, we will arrange a time for you to bring the object to one of our museum sites. If this is not possible, we will be happy to discuss alternative arrangements with you.
Please do not bring or send any objects to the museum sites without arranging this with us.
When you bring the object to one of our sites you will be asked to fill in and sign an Object Entry Form. If you are not able to attend site in person, we can arrange for the paperwork to be sent to you.
3. What sort of information do you need?
The more information we have, the easier it will be for us to make a decision. Key pieces of information include a brief description of the object, roughly how big it is, how it is related to the history of Lancaster, the condition of the object, and where it is. It is also important for us to see a photograph of the object if at all possible. But don’t worry, we will be in touch after you send us an offer and will ask you for any extra information that we need.
4. Will I have to fill in any forms?
Yes. If your object is accepted to the collections, you will need to fill in and sign an Object Entry Form. This form makes sure that the ownership of the object is transferred from you to us, without it we cannot add the object to our collections and would not be able to use the object in any way. The form is short and will only require you to fill in your name, address, contact information and signature. You will also need to tick one or two boxes to confirm that you are happy to donate the object, and that the object is yours to donate.
You will not be asked to fill in or sign anything if your object is not accepted for the collection.
5. How long will the process take?
The process can take several weeks to complete. Our Acquisitions Board meets once a month and we will try to get you an answer as soon as possible however sometimes the board may not be able to meet, or we may have to consider your offer in the next meeting if we have received a very high number of offers that month. However, if you need a decision fast please let our staff know and we will do everything we can to help.
6. Can you take my object before you make a decision?
No. Any object on our property needs to be stored, cared for, and insured by us. As such, we cannot take in any objects until we have officially agreed to accept them into our collections. Please do not bring objects into our museum sites without arranging it with us first. Front desk staff are not allowed to take objects from members of the public and will have to ask you to leave details but take the object away with you. If we feel we need to see the object in person before we make a decision, we will arrange a time and place for you to meet a named member of staff.
7. What will happen to my object after it becomes part of the collection?
It is important to note that once you donate an object to our collections the legal ownership of that object becomes ours, and you will no longer own the object. Like most museums we only have space to show a small percentage of our collection at any one time. If your object is accepted into the collection, we cannot guarantee that it will be put on display at our museum sites. Most objects in our collection are kept in our stores, but everything in our collection is cared for to museum standards and is available for use in new displays and exhibitions and is accessible to researchers.
8. I want my object to be in the museum, but still want to keep it. Do you take long-term loans?
Usually no. We will only take objects on loan for a specific exhibition or display. We would only consider arranging a long-term loan for unique objects that we want to put on permanent display in our museums. Long-term loans need to be renewed every 5 years. However, if you think you have an object that would be perfect for one of our upcoming exhibitions or displays please do get in touch, we would be happy to discuss it with you.
I have read the eight points and think that I have something that I would like to donate. Now what do I do?
You can send us an email, including photographs of your objects to: