Give to the Collection

Firefighters Hall and Museum
Gift Policy and Procedure

Interested donor(s) should write an initial query letter to the museum about the item(s) they are proposing to donate to the museum’s permanent collections. Museum address and email address are found at the end of this information page.

In making a preliminary decision to accept an item, the museum considers such issues as relevance, provenance, title, location, intrinsic value, and condition. Please include various photographs of the item (front, back, sides, interior, and exterior views), any descriptive text, and historical research you may have on the item(s) you wish to donate with your initial query letter. Please list any damage to the item that is not evident in the photographs sent to the museum. Upon the first assessment, the museum will indicate whether there is an interest in the items offered for donation.

It is the museum’s preference to receive donations at the museum during normal office hours. In some instances, instructions will be given for shipping items. Upon physical examination, the museum always reserves the right to decline a proposed donation.

Once the item(s) have been received, the museum staff prepares an inventory of the donation and forwards this together with the museum’s standard Deed of Gift form to the donor(s) for review and signature. It is preferable for donor(s) to expedite the collection inventory, gift documents, and the cataloging process by preparing their own advance itemized listing of their donated items.

The donor(s) is asked to sign and return three copies of the final Deed of Gift. Please provide complete description(s) of item(s) to be donated in the final Deed of Gift (size, material, color, age or date of manufacture, and provenance). If necessary, use the attached Schedule A for lengthy descriptions. An agent may sign for a corporation. Upon return of the signed forms, the donated item(s) move from pending acquisition status to that of donated object(s) or material(s).

Once donated, item(s) become part of the museum’s permanent collections. The museum carefully holds in public trust all items which it has received by donation. Disposal or exchange of any artifact(s) is called a “deaccession” and is made in full conformity with the museum’s guidelines for management of interpretive collections. Deaccessions of item(s) in the permanent collection are at the museum’s discretion.

Use of Gifts

Only a percentage of the museum’s collection can be displayed at any one time. Donated items are periodically rotated on display and periodically “at rest” in the museum artifact storage areas. Documentary, manuscript, books, printed, and pictorial materials reside in the museum’s research library where, once cataloged, they are available by appointment in the Library. The museum also draws from the Library Collection for rotating and changing exhibits within the museum as well as for use in publications. Accompanying cash contributions are encouraged to help process, conserve, properly store, and make readily available large and significant donations.

Donor Recognition

Donors to the museum receive the satisfaction of knowing their donated items become a permanent part of the collections of the Firefighters Hall and Museum.


If desired, a formal appraisal of a gift is the responsibility of the donor. The museum can provide a list of professional appraisal organizations that can help you find a suitable appraiser in your area. The IRS does not permit the benefiting institution to appraise donated objects.

Tax Deductions

Donations to the museum are tax deductible, to the full extent allowed by law, for both federal and State of Minnesota income tax purposes. It is the responsibility of donors to confer with their tax advisors regarding the tax benefits, details, and implications of large donations. The museum cannot offer tax advice. As a general rule, the IRS permits advance formal appraisals only 60 days prior to the actual date of gift. A letter of thanks will be sent to the donor indicating the receipt of the gift.

Reasons a museum might decline the donation of an object

While we sincerely appreciate you considering the donation of an object to the Firefighters Hall and Museum, we want to remind you that a museum is not to be considered a regional or community “attic”. The following is a list of five common reasons a museum might decline the donation of an object:

  1. Object is out of the museums scope (wrong subject, geographic area, etc.) We may provide you with a list of alternative museums that might be interested.
  2. Duplicate(s) already in collection – We might have similar objects of the same era already in our collection. We may provide the proposed donor with a list of alternative museums that might be interested.
  3. Poor condition – We must be very wary of accepting items in poor condition that may tax museum space and conservation resources or are too fragile to exhibit.
  4. Large Size – We must be wary of accepting items that may tax our limited storage and display space.
  5. “Conditional gifts” and “Permanent loans”-Museums generally reject objects donated with “conditions”. We cannot accept an artifact with the condition, “This item must always be on display.

Please complete the donor questionnaire (available to print online from the link on the bottom of this page) and send it with pictures of the object (multiple views) to:

Attention: Collections Committee Firefighters Hall and Museum
664 22nd Ave NE, Mpls. MN 55418

Please note that you may not receive an immediate response to your donation request, as the Collection Committee of the Museum as well as the Board of Trustees plays an active part in considering such donations and meets on a limited basis.

Please Do Not Send Any Artifacts Until Contacted By the Museum.

Thank You.