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How to Donate an Artifact to the Wisconsin Historical Museum | Wisconsin Historical Society

General Information

How to Donate an Artifact to the Wisconsin Historical Museum

How to Donate an Artifact to the Wisconsin Historical Museum | Wisconsin Historical Society

We rely on the generosity of donors to help fulfill our mission of preserving the state's heritage for future generations. The Museum is always seeking artifacts that represent the experiences of Wisconsinites from many backgrounds and time periods.

The Museum collects only three-dimensional objects. To donate photographs, papers, manuscripts, books, newspapers or published materials, see instructions for Making a Donation to the Library-Archives Collections.

If your artifact meets the criteria listed below and you are interested in donating it, contact Joe Kapler by phone at 608-263-3510.

Criteria for Museum Artifact Donations

Because of its specific mission and its limited resources, the Museum accepts only those artifacts that meet ALL of the following criteria:

  1. The object must be three-dimensional.
  2. The object must relate in a significant way to the history or prehistory of what is now the state of Wisconsin.
  3. Sufficient information about the history and function of the artifact must be available at the time of acceptance to justify the research and/or interpretation value of the object.
  4. The object must not represent an unnecessary duplication of artifacts already in the collection.
  5. The Museum must be reasonably assured that the donor has legal title to the artifact and can convey that title to the Historical Society. The Museum cannot accept items known to have been illegally imported or acquired, or to have resulted from the improper destruction of historic or archaeological sites, buildings, districts or objects.
  6. The artifact can be acquired without restrictions (such as requirements for long-term loan, permanent display, or exhibition of an entire collection).
  7. The object is in reasonable condition, has no extraordinary conservation needs, and can be adequately stored and cared for by the Museum.

Have Questions?

Have questions about the criteria for donating artifacts to the Wisconsin Historical Museum? Contact our curatorial staff by email below.