Donate to the Permanent Collection
Donating Objects to KWAHS
Through generous donations and gifts from individual contributors, our Collection continues to grow as a public resource. The Society is always happy to consider donations that will enhance the breadth and depth of its Collection, however, we have procedures in place to handle potential donations.
Contact the Curator
Complete our online donation contact form below providing as much information as you can about the object(s) you wish to donate to KWAHS. Remember to include your contact details, the location of the object(s), and any provenance information. The more information available about an object, the better we will be able to determine if and how it fits into our Collection. Below are the major points we are looking for:
- What is the object and for what purpose is or was it used?
- When, where, and by whom was it created?
- When and under what circumstances did you come to own it (gift, purchase, inheritance, etc)?
- Any other information that might be relevant to the object’s fabrication, use, or ownership history
The information will be passed on to our Curator for consideration. The Curator will contact you for any further information that the Society may need and tell you more about the procedure we use in deciding whether to accept to your generous offer.
Please do not drop off or mail objects without first contacting the museum – we want to ensure that your potential donation is properly identified and cared for.
How Acquisition Decisions Are Made
As you may imagine, we cannot accept all items offered to us. Every potential acquisition needs to relate to our Mission Statement and should be relevant to the Florida Keys. The object(s) is/are presented at our bi-annual Collections Committee meetings at which time the Committee decides whether or not to accept the donation. If you require an appraisal on an object prior to its acceptance into our collection, you must do this through an independent third party. The Society cannot provide appraisals for your donation. A formal appraisal of a donation is the responsibility of the donor because the IRS does not permit the Society to appraise donated objects. It is the responsibility of donors to confer with their tax advisers regarding the tax benefits, details, and implications of donations. Once donated, items become part of the Museum’s permanent collections and are treated accordingly.
The Society may be unable to accept your donation for a variety of reasons. Frequently we already have examples of items offered and would not wish to duplicate these. Some objects may be more appropriate to another museum, in which case we will try to give you the names and contact details of museums that may be interested. In other cases we may be unable to accept items which are in very poor condition or which will occupy a large amount of space.
Use of Objects and Collections after Acquisition
When the Society formally acquires new objects for its collections, these additions are made accessible to the public in one or all of the following ways:
- placed on display in one of the three Museum sites in Key West
- lent for exhibition in other museums at home and abroad
- used in our educational programs or community programs
- made available for research purposes
- digitized and made available online through our website