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How to Donate Artifacts to the Museum

If you are thinking about donating to the SD Agricultural Heritage Museum artifact collection, here are a few things to consider:

  1. Be sure that no one in your family would like the items you are considering donating.  It is better to keep heirlooms within the family and avoid any conflict that may arise from someone being unaware of the donation or intent to donate.  Please discuss potential donations with your children, grandchildren, siblings, cousins or other people who have an interest in the items.  If items are to come to the Museum after your death, make a clear and direct statement to that effect in your will or estate dispersal instructions.
  2. Contact the SD Agricultural Heritage Museum.  Museum staff may be contacted at 605-688-6226, toll free at 877-227-0015, or via email at SDSU Ag Museum.  It is best to contact the museum staff Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.–5 p.m.  We will ask you to complete a Temporary Custody Form giving permission and instructions to the museum to accept, turn down or disposed of the potential donation.  In addition, you will be asked to supply complete contact information for yourself or the donor’s legal representative.
  3. Materials that the Museum is interested in need to be from South Dakota, related to agriculture or rural life, and should be in good condition, with little or no alterations or restorations.  There is a large monetary investment to properly store and preserve our history.  The Museum has limited storage space, so we are selective about what we will accept into the collection.
  4. If the Museum accepts the donation, you will be sent a Deed of Gift Form to sign and return to the Museum.  This document transfers all rights, copyrights, and control of the items to the SD Agricultural Heritage Museum.  Acceptance of a donation does not guarantee that the item(s) will go on immediate exhibit or will ever go on exhibit.  The majority of any museum’s collection is used for study and research.  Students, professors and researchers, use the museum’s collections on a daily basis.  Rest assured that even though your donation may not be on exhibit, it is being properly preserved, stored and used for the benefit of future generations.
  5. Most museums, including the SD Agricultural Heritage Museum, do not have a budget for purchasing collection items.
  6. If you wish to take a tax deduction, please consult your attorney or tax preparer.  They can supply you with the IRS form 8283 Noncash Charitable Contributions form.

From the South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum Collection Policy, 2006 Objects may be acquired for the museum through donation, bequest, purchase, exchange or other means by which the title passes to the South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum.  All objects accepted for accession will be considered permanent additions to the museum’s collection to maintain in perpetuity as long as they retain their physical integrity, identity, authenticity and support the museum’s mission.  Objects may be acquired for the museum when all of the following criteria are met:

  • Donations are to be unconditional and unrestricted with no commitments or guarantees to exhibit, publish, and maintain perpetual ownership, attribution, or valuation by the Museum.  Exceptions must be specified and approved by the Director.
  • If possible, materials will be acquired with full literary rights, property rights, copyrights, patents or trademarks.  The Director must approve exceptions.
  • The current owner must have clear title of ownership.
  • Acquisition must conform to the museum’s mission.
  • The museum must be able to provide proper care for the item(s).
  • All moral, legal, and ethical implications of the acquisition must be considered.
  • All materials, if possible, are documented as to provenance.
  • The items being acquired must pose no physical danger to the collection, staff, volunteer, visitors or the museum building.