What Kinds of things does the Museum collect? The Museum collects objects related to the history of the Tri-Cities (Spring Lake, Ferrysberg, Grand Haven) and their immediate outlying areas.
When I drop off my donation at the museum, isn’t that enough? No. When, you bring an object to the museum as a donation, the registrar will meet with you. If the registrar is unavailable, the donation may be left with the museum staff and the registrar will call you later. Once the object is dropped off at the museum, a temporary custody receipt form will be completed by the registrar. This form gives the museum written permission to hold the object(s) until the museum accepts or declines the donation. The object will be ready for review by the donations, review committee, which meets monthly.
Why do you collect some objects and not others? We do not accept every donation that is offered to us. The Objects are measured against guidelines that help us identify objects important to the Tri Cities’ past.
Well then, how do you evaluate each object? The museum’s board of trustees has established a panel comprised of board members, museum staff, and knowledgeable citizens who serve as a donations review committee. The committee acts on behalf of the board to review potential donations and determine whether the object(s) fit within the museums’ collecting scope and stated mission. Some of the questions they ask about each object include:
· Was the object used in the Tri Cities?
· Was it used by a local person or family?
· Where did the object come from and how long has it been in this area?
· If the object is not directly related to the area, is it similar to objects that
were used in this area?
· Are there similar objects in the collection already?
If so, how does the condition compare?
· What are the object’s physical needs?
Is it deteriorated beyond repair?
How much space does it need for storage and display?
· Does the owner have free and legal ownership of the object?
Does the owner propose restrictions on the gift?
If an object does not satisfy most of the guidelines, the committee either returns the object to the donor, or attempts to find a more suitable home for it, as indicated by the donor’s wishes on the entry form.If the object meets many of these requirements, then the committee accepts the object for the collection. A deed of gift form is sent to the donor for his or her signature. One copy of the document is returned to the museum, one copy stays with the donor. No donation is considered final until the donations review committee accepts the object and a signed deed of gift form is received by the museum. Except in extraordinary situations, object donation to the museum is unrestricted- that is, we cannot promise that your object will always be on exhibit, the objects will be displayed together in a particular way, a name will associated with the display of the object, and so on. However, we do promise that the object will receive the care and respect due them as a part of the museum’s permanent collection.
Can the museum buy my object(s) for the collection? No. The museum relies on individuals and organizations from the community for artifacts for the museum’s collections.
Can the museum give me an appraisal for my object(s)? No. The Tri-Cities Historical Museum collections policy prohibits museum personnel from making appraisals. Donors seeking tax benefits must contact a licensed appraiser.
I don’t want to donate the object(s) but I’m willing to loan it for a really long time. Can I do that? The museum takes objects on loan but only for a specified amount of time, and usually for specific purposes only, such as a temporary exhibit.
Why can’t my donation be on display all of the time? The museum’s gallery space is limited. But limited space is not the only reason. Many types of objects (textiles, photographs, artwork, for example) should receive a periodic “rest” from the stress and high levels of light they are exposed to on exhibit. Some objects are waiting until an appropriate interpretative opportunity is developed. Others may require conservation or research. Many are simply awaiting their turn in the exhibitions, collections serve as important historical records, and are always available to researchers.
Donating objects to the museum. The museum collects objects relating to the history of the Tri Cities and surrounding areas. If you are interested in making a donation to the museum, please ask for the registrar at (616) 842-0700.