Decorative plate from Queensland Museum collection

Donate to the collection


Our collections are based on the generosity of many people. Some significant items are donated directly to the museum while others are purchased through funds from the Queensland Museum Foundation.

Object and specimen donations are vital and help us to make sure that our collection represents the diversity of stories that make Queensland distinctive, as well documenting the present for future generations.

To assess donations, we consider things like the history of an object and it’s links to Queensland, the places, people and events the object relates to, the condition it is in, and whether we have other similar objects already in our collection. For specimens, we consider if it represents an element of Queensland’s rich biodiversity not already represented in our collection.

Most importantly, we always explore the significance and relevance of an object or specimen to the heritage of Queensland.

Donation offers

We receive many donation proposals, and each are assessed individually by our curators. Depending on staff resources and expertise, assessment of a donation offer may take several weeks or sometimes longer. We will contact you within 10 days to acknowledge receipt of your offer and to provide an indicative timeframe for response.

If you have more questions about donation proposals, have a look at our FAQs below, or please contact us.

FAQs

Your donation could become a valuable part of the Queensland Museum State Collection for future generations.

If you have an object that you would like to donate to the museum, please complete a Donation Proposal Form including:

  • physical description of the item (type, age, size, condition)
  • historical information about the item (provenance - date, associated people, places and events)
  • a photograph of the item
  • supporting evidence, if available (e.g. associated documentation, personal knowledge, oral history).

The donation form can be sent to the museum and a Museum Officer will contact you and either discuss your donation further, or let you know whether or not your item is suitable for the State collection.

If your object is considered suitable for the collection, we will arrange for collection or ask you to drop the object in on your next visit. We will also ask you to complete a standard Queensland Museum Gift Agreement form.

Please note that Queensland Museum receives a large number of donation proposals. Depending on staff resources, donation proposals may take up to three months to process.

Queensland Museum cannot accept or hold any object until a decision is made to accept a donation.

Please do not bring objects to the museum or post them to us without prior agreement.

The Cultures and Histories staff at Queensland Museum are potentially interested in anything to do with Queensland’s cultural heritage – both historical and contemporary. We are particularly interested in objects that tell a story – about people, places or events. The more information we have about an object the better.

Much of our natural heritage collection is developed from fieldwork undertaken by our researchers, so we do not acquire specimens for our Biodiversity and Geosciences collection through donation.

Queensland Museum will only accept objects that you legally own. We cannot accept objects that belong to someone else, have been stolen, illegally exported from their country of origin or illegally removed from archaeological, historic or significant sites.

We prefer objects that are in good condition, but even an object in poor condition may still be of great significance in telling a particular story. In fact, the damage an object received during its life might tell an important story in itself.

There is no guarantee that your object will ever be on public display. However, a major role of the museum is to make the collection available to the public for research and education purposes. All objects which are accepted as donations are important to us, whether they are on display or not.

Part of our museum work is in making those objects and specimens more accessible – through digitisation and by featuring stories about our collection in our on-line collections, through our Learn and Discover section and through our regular social media channels.

No. Once you have donated an object it becomes the property of the Queensland Museum. However, visitors can access information about objects in the collection through the Discovery Centre.

To assess donations, we ask for some specific information. This helps us understand the significance of the proposed donation.

Unfortunately, we cannot accept all donations, so we need to investigate things like the condition of the object (we consider how much conservation work it would need) and how big it is (we think about what storage will be needed to keep it).

Before we accept an object, we need to know some information about is history, who used it and where it came from. This helps us to develop a significant, well preserved and representative collection for all Queenslanders.

Items accepted into the collection must meet our significance criteria and strategic themes. And, of course, our assessments of donations are guided by our collection policy.

Significance Assessment.

Donated items assessed as significant will be registered as part of the collection. Under the terms of a Gift Agreement these donations become the property of Queensland Museum.

In return, we ensure the long-term preservation of your donation by:

  • creating a record of the objects, including photographs, on the museum database
  • providing conservation treatment where required
  • packaging and storing the materials according to museum standards
  • maintaining your donation in the Collection Store
  • ensuring access to items in the state collection is controlled in a way that maintains their long term preservation.

Donated materials that are part of the Queensland Museum State Collection may be:

  • publicly shown in exhibitions and displays occasionally
  • researched by museum curators and university researchers to contribute to our understanding of Queensland’s history, society, culture and environment
  • borrowed under standard Museum loan procedures
  • viewed in the Collection Store by prior arrangement with the relevant Program Head.

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