Does the Earth Sciences Museum accept specimen donations?
We do, thank you for looking into the process! The Waterloo Region community, industries across North America, public organizations, and private individuals have filled our museum with valuable specimens that sustain our exhibits. As a museum that specializes in Earth Sciences we review each donation offer through unique lenses in accordance with our Mission Statement.
What items is the museum looking for?
The Earth Sciences Museum is always seeking the donation of rocks, minerals, fossils, and meteorites. Replicas, photographs, instruments and artwork related to Earth Sciences and Earth science history are also sought after. All accepted donations emphasize objectives of our Mission Statement. We are also looking for specific items on our Wish List.
How can I get in contact with the museum?
If you have questions about the museum, please contact the Assistant Curator. If you have questions regarding a donation, please contact the Museum Curator. If you have a specimen you would like to donate, please fill out our contact form and we will get in touch with you.
Can I bring the item to the museum for approval?
We do not accept drop in donations. Please fill out our contact form online so we can evaluate your specimen in terms of what value it adds to our museum.
How are donations reviewed and selected?
Donations are reviewed by the curator and brought to the attention of our board members at one of our 4 annual meetings. Our selection criteria are based on factors including the condition of the specimen, safety, educational value, if the specimen aligns with the museum’s mission and vision, as well as our ability to maintain the specimen’s condition.
We will not accept objects which:
- Will create a hazard or condition which would be damaging to the existing collection;
- Due to its material or physical make-up cannot be safely cared for;
- Due to its nature or present condition cannot be reasonably conserved.
Most specimens that are evaluated are valuable, but as an Earth Sciences museum we are looking for specific pieces that actively add to our collections. Fascinating pieces may be rejected here but be wonderful additions to collections elsewhere.
How does the donation process work?
If you are interested in donating to the Earth Sciences Museum there are a number of steps that need to happen to determine if your donation enters the permanent, research or educational collection:
- Before a specimen, artifact or collection is donated to the Earth Sciences Museum, the potential donor fills out and signs a Temporary Custody Receipt.
- If the donor decides to donate without needing a charitable receipt go to #4 below. If the donor requires a charitable receipt for income tax purposes go to #3 below.
- Charitable receipts for income tax purposes may be issued for donations. The determination of the fair market value of the donation must come from a competent and qualified person who can evaluate the particular property being transferred as a gift. Donations must be accompanied by a written professional appraisal and paid for by the donor, before a tax receipt can be issued. A professional appraisal must be completed before the donation comes to the Museum.
- Regardless of whether or not the donor is receiving a chartable receipt, the specimen, artifact or collection will be picked-up or delivered to the Earth Sciences Museum and housed in the “specimen holding room” along with its Temporary Custody Receipt and any accompanying documentation.
- The specimen, artifact or collection is researched and assessed with respect to its significance for inclusion in the permanent collection.
- If it is deemed as not pertinent to the collection, it is returned to the owner and the Temporary Custody Receipt is signed as “returned” and “date of return” noted.
- If a specimen, artifact or collection is deemed pertinent to the collection, the item(s) are assigned catalogue number(s) and the catalogue number(s) are noted on a Deed of Gift form sent to the owner/donor.
- The owner is required to sign the Deed of Gift form, thus transferring ownership and responsibility to the Earth Sciences Museum.
- The owner has six months from the accession date to return the signed form. Without a signed Deed of Gift form, a tax receipt will not be issued, and the specimen, artifact or collection will not be stored with the permanent collection nor put on display.
- Upon the receipt of the signed Deed of Gift form, the object(s) are marked with a catalogue number(s) and added to the collection database according to current museum standards.
Do I get a Tax Receipt?
Charitable receipts for income tax purposes may be issued for donations. The determination of the fair market value of the donation must come from a competent and qualified person who can evaluate the particular property being transferred as a gift. Donations must be accompanied by a written professional appraisal and paid for by the donor, before a tax receipt can be issued.
Does the museum accept loans?
The Earth Sciences Museum does not accept personal loans of property. Such loans impose a significant burden on our museum, as well as other responsibilities that are contrary to the best practices as advocated by the Canadian Museum Association. The items we accept are donated without conditions as gifts to the museum, free and clear of all encumbrances.
Will my donations be exhibited?
We cannot guarantee that any particular piece will be exhibited at any particular time. Our collection far exceeds what we have the capacity to actively display. We can however ensure that all donations will be preserved and maintained. Specimens not displayed will be in secure storage while still being accessible to researchers and the greater scientific community. Pieces in storage may be rotated out as exhibits evolve.