Frequently Asked Questions


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I visit the Museum or Archives outside of normal open hours?

Our hours of operation (see the MUSEUM and ARCHIVES pages) allow us the flexibility to operate with a limited amount of staff. Usually, someone is on hand even outside of our regular hours. If you are visiting from out of town or have a limited schedule and can't make it during our regular hours, just call ahead and we'll see what we can do to accommodate you. 

Q: How do I book a tour? How much does it cost?  

If you want to bring in a group of 6 or more people for a tour, please contact us to let us know you're coming and have staff on hand to lead the tour. 

Admission to the Museum (including tour) is by donation, we suggest $2 per person. 

Q: I have a bunch of items I want to donate. Where do I take it? 

We are always grateful for the generosity of our donors. However, we can only take in items that fit our Collections Policy. We strongly recommend that you speak with staff before you bring items in to the Museum or Archives. 

Q: Why? 

There's a few reasons why we strictly follow our collections policy: 

1. As a small institution with limited storage, we have to be aware of our extremely limited capacity. Trying to cram too many items into our storage spaces endangers the artifacts and can lead to damage.

2. We strive to follow best practices for collection care and preservation, storing items according to industry standards and following conservation methods as well as our resources allow. Museum-grade shelving, acid-free storage containers, padding, tissue, envelopes, sleeves, and other acid-free storage solutions can be extremely costly. By only collecting items relevant to our mandate, we can better allocate resources to preserve what's important to our community. 

3. Our collection defines us and helps us achieve our purpose through programming, community outreach, and research. By only accepting items outlined in our mandate, our collection becomes more meaningful and useful to our community and researchers. 

Q: What happens to stuff that I donate? 

Once an item is donated, and all the appropriate paperwork is obtained (all donations require a gift form signed by the donor or the donor's legal estate before they can be added to the collection), your item will be added to the queue to be accessioned. If the object is abandoned, we will make efforts to find the legal owner within reason. If the owner is unable to sign the paperwork we need within 90 days, we reserve the right to deal with or dispose of the items in any capacity we deem appropriate and the item may not be added to our collection. 

New items are kept separate from the rest of the collection until they are cleaned and checked for harmful materials (such as lead paint, asbestos, or mould). This protects staff working with the items, and items already accessioned. Depending on what it is, we might even freeze the item for a time or apply desiccants.

When your item is next in the queue, staff will do a thorough inspection, assessing its condition and features. We take measurements, document the materials it's made of, and look for potential risks that may affect it over time. This isn't done because we want to know what it's worth - we do this step because it will determine how and when we apply preservation methods. It also helps us to identify how and where we will store or display it - some delicate items may need to be housed where UV and humidity are tightly controlled. Other items may be more robust and can be housed or displayed openly.  

We enter this information into our collection database, along with any information you provided us with when you brought it in and filled out the paperwork. We assign the object a unique number, which is cross-referenced with your donor information. 

If the item needs further processing, such as a deep-cleaning, repair, or other conservation methods, it will be noted and done according to priority. Then the item is stored appropriately according to the recommendation of the staff who assessed it. 

We may bring the object out in the future for researchers, exhibits, or to continue to provide conservation care. 

Q: Can I get an income tax receipt for my donation? 

Yes! Cash donations of over $100 are eligible for a tax donation receipt. Simply request one at the time of your donation. Gift donations (artifacts, photographs, etc) must be appraised by a recognized appraiser before we can issue you an income tax receipt. The donor is responsible for any costs incurred by the appraisal process. We do not offer appraisal services. 

Q: What happens if you decide you don't want my donated artifact anymore? 

Sometimes items are deemed inappropriate for the collection - this may be for any number of reasons (item does not fit our collections mandate, is deemed hazardous, or is duplicated within the collection). Deaccessioning is a lengthy process and it is never done lightly. We strive for transparency throughout the process. 

We have a formalized process to follow when deaccessioning any object. When you donate the item, make sure you read the gift form carefully and check the action you want us to take in the case that the object is removed from the collection - these actions may include (but are not limited to):

i. Calling you to pick up the item, transferring ownership back to you. 

ii. Selling the item. 100% of profits from sales are allocated to collection care. 

iii. Adding the item to our educational collection, if appropriate. 

iv. Transfer the item to another institution. 

v.  Dispose of the item in whatever capacity we deem necessary. 

These options are clearly stated on the form and we will make every effort to follow the wishes stated on the donor form. If you move or if your contact information changes, you are responsible for contacting us to update your contact information. If for any reason we are unable to contact you, we will continue through our formalized process.