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Artifact Donation FAQ

Is Heritage Village still accepting items?

Yes. The museum is interested in artifacts that help document and tell the stories of Pinellas County. The museum is particularly interested in items used by early Pinellas County residents and further support the museum’s five interpretive themes: tourism, agriculture, community life, transportation and coastal living. However, the museum is only able to collect a small portion of donations offered due to limited funds and storage capacity, the museum must follow strict criteria when determining whether or not to accept new pieces into the collection.

How does the museum decide what to accept in its artifacts collection?

During the Collections Committee meeting, collections staff considers the following criteria:

Does this object fit the mission of Heritage Village?

Is there a significant history or documentation?

What is the physical condition of the object?

Is this a duplicate of something already in the collection? If a duplicate, how does this piece compare in terms of documentation and condition?

Does the museum have the resources to safely and professionally preserve, store and care for the object?

Is this object a safety or health hazard to staff or visitors?

What happens to objects not accepted into the museum’s collection?

On the Temporary Custody Receipt, the donor selects whether or not they would like the donation returned if the museum does not accept it, or if the museum is free to transfer or otherwise dispose of objects that are declined. If the donor selects the return option, the museum makes arrangements for the individual to pickup the donation or for the museum to ship it back, at the donor’s expense. If the donor does not want the donation back, the first consideration is to transfer it to another museum or appropriate institution.

Is my donation going to sit on a shelf, never to be displayed? When will my donation be on exhibit?

The museum does not guarantee that artifacts will ever be displayed. What visitors don’t see on display is just as important as what they do. In telling the story of Pinellas County we depend on a large collection, of which on a small percentage can be displayed at a time. Once an object, document, or photograph is donated, it immediately becomes available to staff and f research who are working on a variety of projects. We cannot predict what specific use your items will have, but your generosity will expand the amount of information about Pinellas past available to the public.

What is done with the artifacts donated to the museum?

Heritage Village uses artifacts and archival items for exhibits organized and displayed by the museum, travelling exhibits, short-term loan to other museums, and for research by historians, authors, documentary film producers and students.

What Heritage Village DOES NOT do with its collections:

Heritage Village does not accept donations that it cannot reasonably expect to use for its interpretative themes in the present or future. Although an item may indeed be representative of our interpretive themes, we only accept items that we believe will fulfill our mission. The museum does not place artifact on “permanent display.”

Will museum staff appraise artifacts for donors?

No. The Internal Revenue Service considers such activity by a 501 c(3) a conflict of interest.

Where are the artifacts that are not on exhibit?

Artifacts are housed in dedicated collections storage. These items are housed in storage containers specifically designed and selected for museum artifacts, in order to ensure their long term preservation.

Does Heritage Village purchase artifacts?

On rare occasion, the museum may purchase pieces. These pieces are still required to meet the same criteria as donations.