How can I donate an artifact to a site?

Over the years NC Historic Sites has acquired approximately 70% of its artifact collection through public donations. Our Collections Branch supervises the acquisition of artifacts. 

For the health and safety of the public and our staff, we have updated our procedures for acceptance of new collections. These procedures will also best preserve our current collections. If you would like to donate your collection to NCSHS, please contact one of our curators at

Plan to describe your object in detail and leave a detailed message, if necessary.  Attaching images of your artifact, as well as the Object History Form (found below), to your email will be incredibly helpful, as well. 

Our Collections Branch will work with site staff to determine whether the artifact meets the division’s collecting criteria and which collection would be most appropriate for the site’s needs. Once we have reached a decision, we will contact you to set up an appointment to arrange delivery or pickup. Criteria for evaluating your object for acceptance into the permanent collection includes the following considerations:

  • Was the object made or used in North Carolina? 
  • What is the object’s historical significance? 
  • Can documentation (written or oral) on the object be found? 
  • Does the object need conservation work?
  • Does the object fill a need in the existing collection? 
  • Is the object a duplicate to something already in the permanent collection? 
  • What is the object’s exhibit potential? 
  • What impact would the object have on available storage and exhibit space?

If the object meets enough criteria, our Chief Curator will present it to two committees, the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Acquisitions Committee and the NC Historical Commission.  Both committees will examine the merits of the object and will vote on its acceptance.

If the object is accepted, our registrar will send you a deed of gift form. This legal document certifies that the object is yours to donate and that you agree to assign all rights associated with the object to NC Historic Sites. When you sign and return the deed of gift, the object becomes part of the collection of NC Historic Sites.

Be aware that this process may take some time.  It is not unusual for it to take 4-6 months after you have donated your object to receive a deed of gift.

Please note:

  • NCSHS has limited storage and exhibit space, so it cannot promise to place any donation on exhibit or hold any donation in perpetuity. The museum reserves the right to dispose of any donated objects which, in its judgment, are inappropriate for retention in its collection.
  • The Tax Reform Act of 1984 and the museum’s professional code of ethics prohibit museum staff from providing authentication and appraisal services. An object's value can often be determined by consulting price guides available in libraries and bookstores. For a written appraisal of an object, please consult an accredited appraiser. The donor or lender may provide the staff an approximate value of the collection for information purposes. The staff cannot approve or disapprove the value.
  • NCSHS assumes that donations are offered in good faith and that donors have the legal authority to transfer custody and ownership of donated items to the museum. NCSHS will not knowingly accept any item acquired by either illegal or unethical means.