West Virginia State Museum Education

Collections Frequently Asked Questions

Collection Policy

The West Virginia State Museum in regard to its stated mission Is to collect artifacts of significance to West Virginia history and culture. As mandated in the West Virginia Code (Chapter 29-1), the State Museum is “to locate, survey, investigate, register, identify, excavate, preserve, protect, restore” for acquisition purposes “historical objects worthy of preservation, relating to West Virginia and the territory included therein from the earliest times to the present.” It is also important to note that collections fuels all museum activity including research, exhibitions, publication, outreach and education.

Appraisal

The West Virginia State Museum cannot provide appraisals or give any estimates of value. If you would like to obtain a formal appraisal of an object, please do so before donating. Searchable databases of national, professional associations of appraisers can be found online. Some options for appraisals are the American Society of Appraisers and the Appraisers Association of America.

Donating an Artifact(s)

To donate an object, please contact the museum at 304-558-0220 or email the Curator, James Mitchell, or Collections Coordinator, Breana Caltrider. Please plan to describe the object in detail or leave a detailed message. Photographs are extremely helpful during this process. The curator or collections coordinator will work with you to determine if the object meets the collections criteria and policy.

If the object is accepted, the museum will notify you and send a deed of gift form. In signing this legal document, you confirm that the object is your property to donate and that you agree to transfer all rights associated with the object to the West Virginia State Museum.

Caring for Your Artifact(s)

Museums, libraries and archives are not the only places that have preservation concerns. Many people have objects in their homes and offices that have special value for them, whether these are art objects that they have collected, inherited family heirlooms, or reminders of people, times and places. You can do much to preserve such valuables without going to extreme efforts and expenses, just by keeping some basic things in mind. To help you take care of your objects, the Smithsonian's Museum Conservation Institute offers technical advice in the form of "Guidelines," small brochures that help you to preserve a variety of objects and materials. You can read these guidelines on this web site.