Object Donation FAQ's

If you are interested in donating items, please review these frequently asked questions.  Before an item is acquired for our collections, it undergoes a review process by our collections committee. Not all items are accepted, because not everything is appropriate for our collections, and because it is expensive to care for and provide access to collection items.

What does the FCHS collect?

We collect a wide variety of materials, including:

  • Art

  • Artifacts and objects

  • Books

  • Film, Video, and Sound Recordings

  • Government records

  • Manuscripts

  • Maps

  • Music

  • Oral histories

  • Photographs


How is the decision made to take or decline an item?

Each item is different, but factors we consider include the item’s historical or cultural significance to our county, uniqueness, physical condition, and the item’s ownership and use history.  

What don't we collect?

In most cases, we do not collect materials without a clear or strong connection to Fillmore County. Generally, we also do not collect:

  • Unidentified photographs

  • Family Bibles

  • Wedding dresses

  • Foreign military memorabilia

  • Awards and plaque

  • 1912 History of Fillmore County by William Willford (Book)

Can I send or bring my item to History Center immediately?

Please do not send or bring items. Unfortunately, we do not have staff available to handle unsolicited donations. If you’d like to donate something, the first step is to fill out the potential donation form. A staff member or curator who specializes in the appropriate collecting area will follow up with you within the next 4 to 6 weeks. Please note: According to Minnesota Museum Property Act (MN State Statute 345.70-74), The FCHS has the right to dispose of any unsolicited materials delivered to any of its sites.

Does the FCHS ever buy things for the collections?

Only in exceptional cases. On these occasions, in keeping with ethical practices we cannot suggest or set the purchase price, but can only react to prices set by the seller. 

Do donated items go on exhibit?

Following standard museum practice, the entirety of our permanent collections is not on exhibit at any one time. We have limited gallery space and long-term display can have negative effects on an object's condition. Items in our collections that are not on exhibit are kept in areas for their preservation.

Are items that are not on exhibit accessible to the public?

Yes. If there are particular items you would like to see please contact a staff member to arrange a showing.  info@fillmorecountyhistory.org

Can I get a tax deduction for my donation?

Donations to MNHS are generally tax-deductible. Consult with a tax specialist to determine your eligibility. In most cases an appraisal of the donated item will be necessary to receive a tax deduction.

Can an item donated by me or my ancestors be returned to me?

Items that have been formally accessioned into the collections cannot be returned to the donor or their descendants. At the end of the donation process, donors are asked to sign a deed of gift, which legally transfers ownership of the materials, as well as all associated rights and interests, to FCHS.

Does the FCHS accept loans?

We only accepts loans for specific, short-term exhibit purposes. We do not accept long-term loans.

How do I donate an item?

The best way to do this is by sending an email to collections@fillmorecountyhistory.org.  The more information you provide about your item(s) (including photos) the more quickly and easily we’ll be able to make a decision about whether or not to add it to our collections.