Artifact Donation

Artifact Donation Frequently Asked Questions

How do I donate artifacts or documents to the Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising?

Due to the volume of offers the Avenir Museum receives, it cannot accept donated materials unless you first submit a completed artifact donation form through email or send one by regular mail. If you have artifacts or documents that you believe would add to the Avenir Museum's collection, please use the donation form on this website to transmit a description of your proposed donation. If you are unable to complete the online form, please call the Avenir Museum at 970.491.1983 or email and request that a copy of the donation form be mailed to you. Please try to include a photograph and measurements of the object or document with your form. You may mail back your completed form to the address below.

Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising
Collection Donations
1574 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1574

Once the form is received, your proposed donation will be evaluated by the museum staff as a new addition to the collection. You will be contacted within a few weeks. You may also be contacted by a student or volunteer for additional information about your donation. If the Avenir Museum accepts your donation, the Curator or Collection Manager will contact you regarding next steps. If you have questions, concerns, or issues or you wish to check on the status of your proposed donation, please contact us at (970) 491-1983 or

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Can I mail or drop off a donation?

The Museum cannot accept unsolicited donations through the mail or in person without your prior submission of an Artifact Donation Form and follow-up communication from the Museum staff.

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How are potential donations reviewed?

Donation offers are reviewed first by the Curator who will make recommendations to the Museum's Collection Committee. The committee is made up of staff knowledgeable in both the scope of the Museum’s collection as well as the conservation issues associated with artifact and document care. The committee uses the criteria specified in the Museum’s collecting scope, as well as its current collecting goals, to guide its decisions. It also takes into consideration the condition of the object and the availability of Museum resources required to store and care properly for the artifact or document as well as cataloging the material to make it accessible. The sensitive nature of materials or ownership of copyrights may also factor into acquisitions decisions.

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How long does it take for the Avenir Museum to review proposed donations?

Typically, the process can take one to two months. If the Curator accepts your donation, it will be submitted to the Collection Committee, which meets monthly, to review donations proposed during the previous month. However, regular reviews may be postponed when staff time is otherwise committed to the development of exhibitions or special programs. If your proposed donation is accepted by the Collections Committee, you will be contacted by the Curator or Collections Manager to arrange to have the donated materials shipped, picked up, or dropped off at the Museum. The final step is your signature on the Avenir Museum’s Deed of Gift form, which legally transfers the property to the Museum.

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Does the Avenir Museum pay shipping cost for a donation?

The Museum does not pay for or reimburse your shipping costs for donated material. Shipping costs are considered part of the donation, unless other arrangements have been made with museum staff.

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Will the Avenir Museum appraise my donation for its monetary value?

The Museum does not provide appraisals of the monetary value of materials proposed for donation 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.

However, professional appraisers will perform this service for a fee. To find a licensed appraiser contact one of the following organizations for a referral.

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Can I take a tax deduction for my donation?

The Avenir Museum is recognized as a qualified charitable organization, thus the fair market value of your donated materials is generally tax deductible.

To ensure that you receive the maximum tax benefit, it is recommended that you consult with your own accountant, attorney, and/or the Internal Revenue Service.

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Will the Avenir Museum exhibit the artifacts or documents in my donation?

The Museum cannot guarantee that any objects donated to its collection will be exhibited unless expressly collected for that purpose. Only a small fraction of the collection is on exhibition at any given time. Documents and artifacts are made accessible for student and professional research purposes. However, the Museum does allocate a significant portion of its annual budget to maintaining optimal conditions in its storage areas and galleries to insure the long-term preservation of all collection materials. Objects from the collection are occasionally loaned to other institutions for temporary exhibitions.

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If I donate artifacts or documents to the Avenir Museum, will they be returned to me at my request?

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

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Can artifacts and documents be removed from the Avenir Museum collection?

The Museum may, with approval from the Collection Committee, remove objects and documents from the collection through a process called deaccessioning. Artifacts or documents that are damaged beyond repair, have a condition that puts other parts of the collection at risk, are duplicative of other items in the collection, or are outside the scope of the collection may be considered for deaccessioning. Deaccessioned material may be donated to another museum or cultural or educational organization, or disposed of in a responsible manner.

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Does the Avenir Museum accept long-term loans?

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

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How do researchers access artifacts and documents in the Avenir Museum's collection?

The Museum makes most of the collection available to student research at any point throughout the semester. Access to artifacts, including costumes, textiles, and interior furnishing objects is extremely limited and is available to professional researchers by appointment only.

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