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Artifact Donation FAQ

Have questions about donating an artifact? Check out the FAQ below.

What does MOHAI collect?

MOHAI collects artifacts that tell the story of Seattle and the Puget Sound region, from the mid-19th century to the present day. Artifacts include 3D objects, photographs, ephemera, oral histories, film, books, maps, and much more.

Acquisitions decisions are often weighed against existing holdings—prioritizing gaps that need to be filled in the collection. Newer artifacts (from the last 40 years) are more rarely offered than older (50 years or more). People of Color, Indigenous People, gay or queer people, trans and nonbinary people, immigrants not from Europe, refugees, people with disabilities, minority religious groups, and working class and low income people are underrepresented in the collection and are priorities for collecting.

Can I bring my artifact to MOHAI for donation?

People wishing to donate an artifact to MOHAI must fill out the Donate an Artifact form or call 206 324 1126 Ext. 103. A Collections or Library staff member will respond to your donation offer and schedule an appointment at the MOHAI Resource Center.

Materials mailed without prior warning or left at the museum may be disposed of or transferred as the museum determines appropriate, without contacting the sender.

Donate an Artifact Form

Does MOHAI provide appraisals or value estimates for artifacts?

No. MOHAI policy states that no museum staff may appraise or provide value estimates for objects, or recommend an appraiser. To obtain an appraisal value for your materials, please contact the American Society of Appraisers.

Can MOHAI provide advice on how to care for or clean an historic object?

Although MOHAI staff cannot provide specific advice on how to care or clean for an object, here are some recommended resources:

American Institute for Conservation

Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute

Canadian Conservation Institute

Does MOHAI provide conservation services?

MOHAI does not provide conservation services.

For a directory of conservators, please visit the website for the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.

Do donated artifacts go on display immediately?

Unfortunately MOHAI cannot promise when an item will go on display. Only a small percentage of the museum’s entire collection is on view at any given time. While not on display, objects are cared for in storage, made available to researchers, and used for public programs at the museum.

Does MOHAI accept loaned items rather than donated items?

While MOHAI does use artifacts on short-term loan for special exhibitions, the museum does not accept long-term loans to the collection.

I’m still not sure if my object is right for MOHAI. Should I still fill out the Donate an Artifact form?

Yes! Even if you are unsure, the Donate an Artifact form is a great way to get in contact with us and start the conversation.

Donate an Artifact Form

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