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Item Donations

We strive to share stories of Marylanders through art, objects, and archival material at the Maryland Center of History and Culture. Community generosity helps us achieve that goal. To donate a piece of Maryland history to the library or museum, follow the guidelines here.

Donate to the Library

Help us preserve, share, and steward Maryland history for present and future generations. The donation of books, archival, and genealogical material is an important means by which the H. Furlong Baldwin Library’s collections grow.


Donation Process

We seek materials that document Maryland people, places, and events through history, items that complement our existing collections, and help tell stories that have been underrepresented. If you have materials that you are considering donating, please complete our Item History Form and contact Special Collections staff at specialcollections@mdhistory.org to discuss. We ask that you do not send material to the H. Furlong Baldwin Library or the MCHC unless agreed upon by library staff. The library reserves the right to discard unsolicited donations and to decline gift offers prior to donation.


Review

After an initial evaluation, potential donations are reviewed by a committee of archivists, historians, and others who help assess whether the materials are a fit with our collecting policy and institutional needs. Donors of accepted materials will be asked to sign a deed of gift legally transferring the materials to the MCHC.


Resources to Help Prepare Your Donation

The Society of American Archivists has created guides to donating personal or family papers and organizational records:


Monetary Donations

Preparing materials for use by researchers involves a variety of functions, including arrangement, description, cataloging, and preservation. Donor-provided funds, though not required, are much appreciated to help assist with the costs of processing collections and re-housing materials into archival-safe boxes and folders. A donation of $50 per box of donated materials offsets the purchase of protective storage, helping to ensure their survival for years to come.

Donate to the Museum

Donation of fine arts, decorative arts, and material culture representing all facets of Maryland life help us in our effort to represent all Marylanders and preserve our state’s heritage for generations to come.


Donation Process

If you have an object or objects you would like to donate to the museum, please complete an Object History Form.

Please do not bring potential donations to the MCHC unless you have an appointment with a museum staff member for that specific reason. The Visitor Services staff at the front desk is unable to accept donations. All donations are finalized after receiving approval from the full Board of Trustees. The process of donating to the museum typically takes six months.


Criteria for Donations

When considering the donation of an object, please note that all objects presented for accessioning must specifically relate to Maryland, have historic or artistic merit, and meet the criteria articulated in the MCHC’s Collections Policy.


Appraisals

Appraisals associated with donations to the museum are the financial responsibility of the donor. Under the American Association of Museums Code of Ethics, museum employees are prohibited from providing appraisals and/or discussing the value of donations being offered to the institution. The following list of national organizations is provided to assist you in finding a qualified, professional appraiser: Appraisers Association of America, American Society of Appraisers, and International Society of Appraisers.