Object Donation FAQ
1. What are items that you are currently interest in collecting?
These are specific examples but we do not limit our collection to just these categories. We welcome submission of all types of objects from the public. We seek to expand our collection in the following areas:
i. Ak-Sar-Ben Organization and Foundation History (Coronation Ball, 4-H and Stock Show memorabilia, Coliseum, etc.)
ii. Items related to or used at Omaha’s Union Stockyards
iii. Items related to immigrant stories of early Omaha
iv. Items related to Union Station
However, we do not limit our collection accessions to just these categories and welcome submission of all types of objects from the public.
2. Does The Durham Museum buy items for its collection? Will the museum help me sell my items?
The Durham Museum does not have an acquisitions budget to purchase items for its collections. All new collection items are donations to the museum. As an institution, we do not assist in the sale of items.
3. What are the steps involved in donating to The Durham Museum?
We try to keep things simple for you during the donation process. The first step is completing the Donation Request Form. A representative of the museum will contact you regarding the status of your request within 1-2 weeks of submission.
4. What happens if my donation is accepted?
If we accept the donation, we will set up an appointment for you to bring the item(s) to the museum, where we will take possession of the item(s) and take down a little more information. From there, our collection team will accession the item(s) recording condition details, attributes and any stories you have shared with us. Once the accession process is finished, our Collection Manager will mail you the Deed of Gift for you to sign and return to the museum. The Deed of Gift legally transfers ownership of the item(s) to The Durham Museum, and gives you the opportunity to let us know how you would like the donation to be recognized if the item is displayed.
5. What happens if my donation is not accepted by the museum?
If we do not accept your item(s) as a donation, we will provide an explanation as to why we declined. We are happy to assist you if you would like help finding another institution who might accept the item(s) for donation.
6. How long does this donation process take?
The Durham Museum receives many requests for donations and a Collection Committee considers each one individually. We conduct research on the items, determine how they fit in the museum’s collection, and discuss how each item adds to the museum’s interpretive mission. This process can take time, but we typically are able to reach a conclusion within 2-4 weeks of receiving the request form.
7. How can I get the item(s) to the museum for donation?
Once our staff accepts a donation, there are three ways to get it to the museum:
i. The preferred method is to make an appointment and personally drop the item(s) off at the museum. We will greet you at the front desk and take possession of the item(s) before we take it to our collection storage area. The item(s) will then be taken to our secure collection storage area here in Union Station.
ii. If you live outside of the area or are unable to come in person, mailing the object to the museum is an option. Due to budget constraints, we cannot reimburse you the cost for shipping. These expenses may, however, be considered part of your tax-deductible gift. For further information on this or other tax-deduction questions related to your donation, please contact a certified tax professional.
iii. We can arrange for a museum staff member to pick up the donation from your residence. This will depend on the item(s), location, size and our staff’s ability to safely transport it to the museum.
8. Can I just drop something off at the front desk?
We do not allow for unsolicited “drop offs” at our front desk. Any potential donation needs to begin with our Donation Request Form, and a representative from the Curatorial Department must be present to accept the donation. Any unsolicited items left at the front desk will not be considered a part of the museum collection, and may be classified as abandoned property and transferred off-site or disposed.
9. Do you accept walk-in appointments for donation considerations?
Since our collection committee must review all potential donations, we do not accept walk-in appointments for object donation requests. Please fill out the Donation Request Form to begin the review process. If you have questions about or are unsure/unable to fill out the Donation Request Form, please call 402-444-5071 for assistance.
10. Are donations accessible to family members or researchers?
Yes! The Durham Museum does allow for immediate family (parents, spouses, siblings and children) of the donor to view the donation in storage at the museum. We do request a minimum of two (2) weeks’ notice prior to the viewing. This will give us time to prepare the item and move it to a private viewing area. These viewing appointments are typically one (1) hour in duration to view the object with a curatorial staff member. Due to space restrictions, the number of people able to view the object in one visit may be limited. The Durham Museum prides itself on making our staff and collections accessible to researchers and members of our community. We kindly request a minimum of two (2) weeks’ notice prior to the intended date of viewing any collections. Since care of the artifacts is our highest priority, some objects may not be accessible if their condition is deemed too delicate for handling.
11. Can my donation be returned to me at my request?
The Durham Museum cannot legally return items to a donor once accessioned due to tax implications with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
12. Do donations go on display at The Durham Museum?
The Durham Museum cannot guarantee if or when donations will go on display. We base whether or not to display an object on many factors, including subject matter of our upcoming exhibits and the condition of the item.
13. Will this donation count as a tax deduction?
The Durham Museum is recognized as a qualified charitable organization. Therefore the fair market value of your donated items is generally tax deductible. To take advantage of your deduction, you must file tax form 1040 and, depending on the value of your donation, tax form 8283. For further information, please contact a certified tax professional.
14. Do you do appraisals?
The Durham Museum does not appraise the authenticity or value of items brought to us. If you require an appraisal, please contact a certified appraiser in your area.