Artifact Donations - Frequently Asked Questions
HOW DO I DONATE AN ITEM?
Complete the Artifact Donation Form and tell us what you'd like to donate. If necessary, you can also contact us by phone:
CAN I SEND OR BRING MY ITEM TO THE Anoka County History CENTER TODAY?
There are rules we must follow about what we can accept, and limits to our storage space. Before potential acquisitions come to the History Center, we try to collect as much information about the item(s) as possible to determine whether or not they belong here. Please complete the Artifact Donation Form and wait for ACHS to contact you before bringing or sending any item(s) to the History Center.
Please note that ACHS reserves the right to dispose of any unsolicited items delivered to or dropped off at the History Center.
What is the ACHS collections POlicy?
WHO DECIDES TO ACCEPT OR DECLINE AN ITEM?
Professional staff and the Gather Committee review the information potential donors provide. We use specific criteria as listed in the ACHS Collections Policy to help decide what we can and cannot accept.
For an indication of what types of artifacts we are interested in, please see our Donation Guidelines.
DO DONATED ITEMS GO ON EXHIBIT?
Some do, but donation is not a guarantee that an item will go on exhibit. The History Center has limited gallery space and long-term display can negatively effect preservation. Items in the ACHS permanent collection that are not on exhibit are kept in secure, climate-controlled storage areas and are usually available by appointment.
CAN AN ITEM DONATED BY ME OR MY FAMILY BE RETURNED TO ME?
All items formally donated to and accessioned by the historical society cannot be returned to the donor or their descendants. A signed Deed of Gift transfers ownership of the item(s) and all associated rights and interests, to the Anoka County Historical Society.
DOES ACHS ACCEPT LOANED ITEMS?
ACHS only accepts loans for specific exhibits. The Society does not accept long-term loans.
Why don’t you accept most newspapers?
Due to the nature of the paper they are printed on, newspapers are very hard to preserve long-term. The paper is very acidic, which causes it to break down; newspapers turn yellow within just a few years, and as they become older they also become very brittle. Eventually, they will break apart entirely, and there is no good way to prevent this. The only exceptions to this would be rarer editions that were printed on something like cotton rag paper, which is not acidic and stays in good condition over long periods of time.
Because of our inability to preserve physical copies of most newspapers, we prefer to preserve them in other formats, such as microfilm.
We will sometimes accept copies of local (city) newspapers that we do not already have in the collection here, because those editions may not be preserved anywhere else, and we can take steps to microfilm or digitize them before the physical copies are too fragile to handle.
Why do you limit the wedding dresses and military uniforms you accept?
Wedding dresses are frequently larger and/or more fragile than other types of clothing. Because of this, they need to be stored carefully in large textile preservation boxes, which average $30-$50 per box, and take up more space on a shelf than other items. Given these needed resources, it’s important for us to make sure that any dresses we accept are helping to tell a unique story about Anoka County, rather than overlapping with stories that can be told by dresses that we already have in the collection.
Military uniforms are, by their nature, uniform. Once we have good examples and stories for all the types of uniforms that were worn during World War II, for example, more identical uniforms usually don’t help us to tell new parts of the story. Photographs, medals, or other artifacts that are unique to an Anoka County soldier, on the other hand, tell a unique story that we definitely want to capture.