Donating to Our Collection

What does Museum L-A collect?

Museum L-A’s Collection Policy states that the institution’s goal is to collect objects related to the textile, shoe, and brick industries in Lewiston-Auburn, Maine and the stories and artifacts of the men and women who worked in those industries. Items related to those topics are given priority, but the Museum also has an interest in collecting items related to the history of Lewiston-Auburn in order to connect those stories to a wider generational audience.

The Museum is currently looking for the following objects to augment its collections relating to the local brick making industry:
  • Tools and artifacts
  • Photographs
  • Maps
  • Family Histories
  • Business Archives
The Museum is currently looking for materials dating to or before 1950 to augment its collections relating to the local shoe making industry.

Does Museum L-A accept everything that is brought to us?

Museum L-A only accepts items that appropriately follow the Museum’s Mission Statement. These donation items must be related to the history of work, arts, and community of Lewiston-Auburn and work to connect generations and cultures. Preference is given to objects that follow Museum L-A’s Collection Policy and Goals (listed above) and objects needed for upcoming exhibitions, but other objects may be accepted if they fit into the mission of our institution. Objects that are too large to fit into the collections storage space or are in too poor condition to be properly cared for are regularly declined by Collections staff. 

If you aren’t sure if your donation falls into the categories listed above, call Emma Sieh, Collections & Exhibits Coordinator, at 207-333-3881 or email esieh@museumla.org to determine if your donation is appropriate for the Museum's collection.

Where do I start?

After contacting the Collections & Exhibits Coordinator about your possible donation, she will determine if it is appropriate for the collection. If it may be appropriate for the collections, she will accept it with a Temporary Custody Receipt.  Museum L-A's Collections Committee will then review the donation and make the final decision about acquiring the item for the collection.

Why do I need to complete a Temporary Custody Receipt?

The Temporary Custody Receipt is for your protection as well as the Museum’s. During the review period, the Museum will have the time to seriously consider your donation in terms of our Mission Statement, Collecting Goals, Collections Policy, and current permanent collection items. During that time (which can sometimes last up to 3 months), this Receipt protects the rights of the Museum to hold onto the item and care for it like we would our permanent collection and protects your right to change your mind and get your item back easily. If at the end of this review period the Museum does not choose to accession the item, it will be returned to you as soon as possible, and you will be provided with a list of other museums or organizations that may be interested.
Should I just drop off my donation?

No. We ask that you call Emma Sieh, Collections & Exhibits Coordinator, at 207-333-3881 or email esieh@museumla.org first to discuss your donation and make an appointment. The Collections & Exhibits Coordinator will make an initial determination of whether or not your donation is appropriate for our collections and will interview you for the object's use history. The history is a very important part of the donation and can often lead to the Museum deciding to accept that item. If it is merely dropped at our desk, we will not be able to fully tell its story or properly acknowledge you in your donation to the Museum.

What will Museum L-A do with my donation once it's been accepted?

A Deed of Gift will need to be completed and signed by the donor and the Collections and Exhibits Coordinator to completely pass over full rights of your donation to the Museum. It also makes the previous Temporary Custody Receipt null and void. Any items that are accepted and accessioned into the permanent collections are handled, processed, and preserved at the highest national museum standard and are exhibited only under secure and safe conditions.  

When will my donation be on exhibit?

This depends on the item's appropriateness to Museum L-A's exhibit program. Space limitations and conservation concerns dictate that we cannot exhibit all our artifacts at one time. There are many objects that should not be exhibited frequently because they may be damaged by exposure to light and the environment. We cannot guarantee when or if your donation will be exhibited; however, your object will receive the best of care, ensuring that they will be available for the use of future exhibitions and generations. If your item does not go on display, it will still be accessible to researchers and academic groups in the community. Museum L-A is a public institution, and collection items are available by appointment for research and public projects.

If my donation is put on display, will I be credited?

It is not our policy to credit donors in writing within an exhibit. Donors are sometimes credited in a general sponsor panel.

Will my donation be loaned to someone else?

Permanent collections and archival materials may be loaned to other museums or cultural institutions, but only to those that adhere to the same high standards of professional museum practice. Items are not loaned to individuals.

Does Museum L-A accept permanent or long-term loans?

No. As a public organization, Museum L-A does not accept permanent or long-term loans. We have a responsibility to direct our resources toward the general community's benefit and not act as a caretaker for an individual's property. To give our collections the very best care and storage conditions, all items in the collections must be owned by the Museum and unemcumbered with restrictions.

Can I take a tax deduction on my donation?

Yes. We highly recommend that you consult with an attorney or financial tax advisor.

Does Museum L-A perform or obtain appraisals for donations to its collections?

IRS rules and Museum policy prohibit us from appraising donations. For your own records and protection, we recommend that you obtain an independent appraisal. The Museum will make your donation available by appointment for inspection by an appraiser of your choice.

How will Museum L-A acknowledge my donation?

If your donation is accepted for the permanent collections, you will receive a letter of appreciation and thanks from the Museum. 

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