Donate an Artefact - FAQS
The following information provides some answers to questions which prospective donors often ask and may be of help to you in your decision to donate items to the Museum.
Types of materials to consider donating
Donors often ask what kinds of historical materials we wish to acquire. Please remember that the Museum accepts only items which fall within itsCollection Policies. If you are in doubt about the suitability of your items for donation, please contact us to discuss further.
The Transfer of Title Donors give items to the Museum using the Transfer of Title form which conveys ownership of the item(s) to the Museum. The Transfer of Title form will be prepared by the Museum staff in consultation with the donor and Museum staff will facilitate the transfer of the items as needed.
Will the item be displayed?
The Museum's collections are not kept permanently on public display. However, all the Museum's collections not currently on display can be accessed, by prior arrangement with the Museum staff.
What will the item be used for?
In addition to display, the Museum's collections may used by: staff and visiting researchers family and local historians
visiting school groups.The Museum's collections are also loaned out to Registered Museums to enhance their displays.
Can I borrow the item back once it has been donated?
In general, because of the increased risk of loss or damage, the Museum does not lend objects to individuals.
Will the item be kept for ever?
For all practicable purposes, Museum objects are retained for ever. The Museum's Acquisitions and Disposals Policy contains a strong presumption against the disposal of objects from its collections. However, in exceptional circumstances, the Museum may dispose of items, in accordance with the Museums Association's Code of Ethics for Museums (www.museumsassociation.org). After an initial offer of the item to other registered museums in the UK, the item may be put up for sale. Any funds received from such a sale will be credited to the Museum's Purchase Fund, which can only be used for the purchase of new objects for the Museum's collections.
Will I or my family be able to see the item?
All items not on public display in the Museum are either out on loan to other institutions or carefully stored by the Curatorial Departments. Visitors can gain access to view such items, by contacting the Museum and booking an appointment to view.
What if I change my mind?
By signing the Transfer of Title form, you are transferring full ownership of the item from your self to the Museum in perpetuity. If you have any concerns, please contact us before signing.
What happens if the Museum closes down?
The Museum's collections are held in trust for the Nation and, in the event of permanent closure, we would expect the collections to be transferred elsewhere within the National Collections.
Why does the Museum want me to assign copyright?
Please bear in mind that it is an invitation, rather than a demand. The Museum receives many requests for copies of material in its collections, for a variety of purposes including research and private study. Whilst copyright law allows us to provide copies of some material for non-commercial research and private study without seeking the copyright owner's permission, the need for authors and publishers to obtain permission can involve the Museum in significant amounts of work, especially where the copyright owner does not inform us of changes of address etc.
Assigning copyright to the Museum would reduce the administration involved in handling such requests, thereby enabling more staff time to be spent on caring for the Museum's collections and giving the opportunity for the Museum to raise income that would be ploughed back into improving the exhibitions and other facilities for visitors.
Do I hold the copyright in material that I give to the Museum?
Copyright is held by the person who creates "an original literary, artistic, musical or dramatic work" and can be bequeathed or assigned to other people or organisations. However, where a work is created as part of someone's employment, the author's employer owns the copyright. For example, photographs taken by an RAF photographer for official purposes are Crown Copyright, but where an airman takes photographs of his friends off-duty, he would hold the copyright. How long does copyright last?
The duration of copyright depends on a number of factors, but for works in private copyright the term is usually 70 years from the end of the year in which the creator died.