COLLECTION DONATION FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The Museum at Bethel Woods has a growing collection of historic photographs, home movies, and other valuable resources for researchers, documentarians, historians, students, and lovers of history in general. If you have photos, home movies, or any other items of historical interest that you may be interested in donating to The Museum, the please review the following questions and answers.
Q. What does The Museum collect?
A. The museum collects art, books, historical objects, manuscripts, audio, video, photography, and ephemera related to the Woodstock Music and Art Fair and the decade of the 1960s.
Q. What doesn’t The Museum collect?
A. In most cases The Museum does NOT collect unidentified photographs, reproductions, autographs, or recently created creative works inspired by Woodstock or the 1960s.
Q. How do I donate an item?
A. First, let us know what you would like to donate. The best way to do this is to send us an e-mail ([email protected]) with a photograph of the item and a short description of the item that will help us decide whether or not it is appropriate for our collection.
Q. Can I send or bring my item to The Museum immediately?
A. Please, no. We do not have staff available to handle unsolicited donations. If you would like to donate something, please send us an e-mail ([email protected], see previous answer) and a staff member or curator will follow up with you. If The Museum is interested in learning more about the item, then an appointment for you to bring or send the item to The Museum may be arranged.
Q. How can I tell if The Museum already has an item in its collections?
A. With limited space and resources, The Museum’s interest is in building the collection only where gaps exist or in areas of particular interest. In general, The Museum is not interested in adding items that duplicate those already in the collection. If you would like to know if an item you are considering donating to The Museum is already represented, please send us an e-mail ([email protected]) and ask us.
Q. Does The Museum ever buy things for the collection?
A. Only in exceptional cases. On those occasions, we cannot suggest or set the purchase price but can only react to prices set by the seller, in keeping with ethical practices.
Q. How is the decision to take or decline an item made?
A. Each item is different, but factors we consider include the item’s historical or cultural significance as relates to Woodstock or the 1960s, physical condition, whether or not The Museum already has a similar item in its collection, and the item’s ownership and use history. Potential additions to the collection go through a rigorous review process and are also subject to a vote by The Museum’s Collections Committee.
Q. Can The Museum appraise my item?
A. Unfortunately, no. Because of The Museum’s standing with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as an interested party, The Museum cannot appraise or assign a monetary value to items. Those looking for appraisal services may wish to contact one of the following organizations for a referral:
Q. Do donated items go on exhibit?
A. Some do, but only a small percentage of The Museum’s collections are on exhibit at any one time. That’s because we have limited gallery space and because long-term display can have negative effects on preservation. Items in The Museum’s collections that are not on exhibit are kept in secure, climate-controlled holding areas for optimal preservation.
Q. Are items that aren’t on exhibit accessible to the public?
A. Yes. Depending on the type of item, different arrangements may be necessary for viewing. Much of The Museum’s photographic and video collections are viewable online. If you would like to view items that are not available online, please contact us at [email protected].
Q. Can I get a tax deduction for my donation?
A. Donations to The Museum are generally tax deductible. Consult with a tax specialist to determine your eligibility. The museum cannot give you a monetary value for your donation (see “Can The Museum appraise my item?” above).
Q. Can an item donated by me or my ancestors be returned to me?
A. Items that have been formally accessioned into the collection cannot be returned to the donor or their descendants. At the end of the donation process, donors are asked to sign a Deed of Gift which legally transfers ownership of the materials, as well as all associated rights and interests, to The Museum.
Q. Does The Museum accept loans?
A. The museum only accepts loans for specific short-term exhibit purposes. We do not accept long-term loans.