How do I donate objects, images, or documents to The Heritage Society (THS)?

Due to the volume of offers THS receives, we cannot accept donated objects, images, or documents unless you first submit a completed donation form for review. If you have material that you believe would add to THS’s collection, please use the online Collection Donation Form on this website to transmit a description of your proposed donation. If you are unable to complete the online form, please call THS and request that a copy of the donation form be mailed to you. Please try to include a photograph and measurements of the item(s) with your form. You may mail back your completed form to the address below or send it via fax.

Collection Donations
Curatorial Department
The Heritage Society
1100 Bagby St.
Houston, TX 77002

Once the form is received, your proposed donation will be assigned to a curator or collection staff member who will contact you within three weeks. If we are interested in accepting your donation, THS staff will work with you to receive the item(s). A curator will present your donation along with a recommendation for acquisition to the Collections Committee, which meets every other month (please note, regular reviews may be postponed when staff time is otherwise committed to the development of special exhibitions or special programs).

Following acceptance by the Collections Committee and Board of Directors, you will be issued a Deed of Gift to document the transfer of ownership of the donated item(s) to THS. If you have questions, concerns, or wish to check on the status of your proposed donation, please contact us.

Can I mail or drop off a donation?

THS does not accept donations through the mail or in person unless prior arrangements have been made with the appropriate curatorial or collection staff member. All unsolicited donations sent via the mail will be returned to the sender.

How are potential donations reviewed?

Donation offers are reviewed first by the curatorial staff who make recommendations to the Collections Committee. The Committee uses the criteria specified in the Collecting Scope and as described in the Collections Donation information to guide its decisions.

How long does it take for THS to review proposed donations?

Typically, the process takes about three months. 

Will THS appraise my donation for its monetary value?

THS does not provide appraisals of the monetary value of proposed donations or for any other reason because the Internal Revenue Service regards museums and libraries as interested parties. Monetary appraisals prepared for donors by such institutions are subject to question or disqualification.

Professional appraisers, however, will perform this service. To find a licensed appraiser in your area, contact one of the following organizations for a referral: the American Society of Appraisers, the International Society of Appraisers, or the Appraisers Association of America.

Can I take a tax deduction for my donation?

THS is recognized as a qualified charitable organization; thus your donation of historical materials to THS’s collection is generally tax deductible.

Will THS exhibit the materials in my donation?

THS cannot guarantee that any historical materials donated to the collection will be exhibited unless expressly collected for that purpose. Only a portion of the collection is on view at any given time.

Objects, images, and documents from the collection are occasionally loaned to other institutions for temporary exhibitions, and many historical archival materials in the collection are made available for research purposes.

If I donate materials to THS, will they be returned to me at my request?

THS cannot return accessioned collection items to the donor. Once the Collections Committee accepts your donation for the collection, you will be asked to sign a Deed of Gift, which legally transfers ownership of the donated materials to THS.

Can donated materials be removed from THS’s collection?

THS may, with approval from the Collections Committee and Board of Directors, remove historical materials from the collection through a process called deaccessioning. Objects, images, or documents that conform to our deaccessioning criteria as described in THS’s Collections Management Policy (e.g., historical materials that are determined to be outside the scope of THS’s collections; inauthentic, misidentified, or misattributed; pose a risk to other objects in the collection; or have deteriorated beyond reasonable repair) may be considered for deaccessioning. Deaccessioned historical material may be transferred to another museum or cultural or educational organization, destroyed, sold, or disposed in another manner that THS deems fit. Any proceeds from the sale of deaccessioned historical material are placed in a restricted Collection Acquisition Fund.

Does THS accept long-term loans?

THS does not accept long-term loans. While it does accept loan items on a short-term basis in conjunction with exhibitions and other programs, THS prefers to commit its resources to the storage and preservation of historical materials in the collection.

How do researchers access historical materials in THS’s collection?

THS’s holdings are available to researchers on a limited basis. We also provide photograph duplications for publication and/or research upon request for a fee. Please call for an appointment or for more information.