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How do I donate artifacts or documents to the Lynn Museum?

If you have artifacts or documents that you believe would add to the Lynn Museum's collection please contact our Collections Specialist. Due to the volume of offers the Lynn Museum receives, it cannot accept donated materials unless you first correspond and receive approval from our Collections Specialist. The Lynn Museum will not accept artifacts that are brought to the museum without an appointment, or unsolicited through the mail. You must include the following information:


1. Name and description of object (example: lady's shoe, high heel with floral brocade)

2. Estimated date the object was made or used (example: 1760)

3. What is its historical significance? Who made it? Who did it belong to? How was it used?: (example: Shoe worn by Madame Johnson at her wedding in 1768)

4. Inscriptions or Maker's Marks

5. Dimensions of object (example: 8" long, 4.5" tall, 3" wide)

6. Condition of object (example: staining on brocade, heel is worn)

7. A photograph of the object. This is required.

8. Supplementary documents (example: relevant genealogies, receipts, etc)

9. Donor's full name and best contact information (email, phone number, mailing address, etc)


Potential donors may email the Collections Specialist at (preferred) or mail the information to:


Attn: Collections Specialist

Lynn Museum & Historical Society

590 Washington Street

Lynn, MA 01901


Incomplete inquiries will not be considered or responded to. Please provide all the information listed above (#1 - 9) in order to receive a reply. Phone calls will not be accepted until the initial written correspondance takes place.


Can I mail or drop off a donation?

The Museum cannot accept unsolicited donations through the mail or in person without prior approval communication from the Collections Specialist.


How are potential donations reviewed?

Donation offers are reviewed first by the Collections Specialist that makes recommendations to the Museum's Collection Committee. The committee is made up of staff knowledgeable in both the scope of the Museum’s collection as well as the conservation issues associated with artifact and document care. The Collections Committee meets on a quarterly basis. Following the meeting you will be contaced regarding next steps. If you have questions, concerns, or issues or you wish to check on the status of your proposed donation, please contact us.


The committee uses the criteria specified in the Museum collecting scope, as well as its current collecting goals, to guide its decisions. It also takes into consideration the condition of the object and the availability of Museum resources required to store and care properly for the artifact or document as well as cataloging the material to make it accessible. The sensitive nature of materials or ownership of copyrights may also factor into acquisitions decisions. The committee gives its recommendation to the Board of Trustees for final approval.


How long does it take for the Lynn Museum to review proposed donations?

Typically, the process takes four to six months. If the Collections Specialist accepts your donation, it will be submitted to the Collection Committee to review donations. However, regular reviews may be postponed when staff time is otherwise committed to the development of exhibitions or special programs. If your proposed donation is accepted by the Collections Committee and Board of Trustees you will be contacted by the Collections Specialist to arrange to have the donated materials shipped, picked up, or dropped off at the Museum. The donor is responsible for shipping costs. The final step is issuing a Deed of Gift for the donation, which legally transfers the property to the Museum.


Will the Lynn Museum appraise my donation for its monetary value?

The Museum does not provide appraisals of the monetary value of materials proposed for donation or for any other reason because the Internal Revenue Service regards museums and libraries as interested parties. Monetary appraisals prepared for donors by such institutions are subject to question or disqualification.


However, professional appraisers will perform this service for a fee. To find a licensed appraiser in your area, contact one of the following organizations for a referral.


American Society of Appraisers


International Society of Appraisers


Appraisers Association of America


Can I take a tax deduction for my donation?

The Lynn Museum is recognized as a qualified charitable organization, thus the fair market value of your donated materials is generally tax deductible. To take advantage of your deduction, you must file tax form 1040 and, depending on the value of your donation, tax form 8283. It is the responsibility of the donor to determine the fair market value.


To ensure that you receive the maximum tax benefit, it is recommended that you consult with your own accountant, attorney, and/or the Internal Revenue Service. You may also consult Internal Revenue Service Publication No. 526, Charitable Contributions, and Publication No. 561, Determining the Value of Donated Property.


Will the Lynn Museum exhibit the artifacts or documents in my donation?

The Museum cannot guarantee that any objects or documents donated to its collection will be exhibited unless expressly collected for that purpose. Only a small fraction of the collection is on view at any given time. Documents are typically made accessible for research purposes in the Museum's Research Center.


However, the Museum does allocate a significant portion of its annual budget to maintaining optimal conditions in its storage areas and galleries to insure the long-term preservation of all collection materials.


Objects from the collection are occasionally loaned to other institutions for temporary exhibitions, and many artifacts and documents in the collection are made available for research purposes.


If I donate artifacts or documents to the Lynn Museum, will they be returned to me at my request?

The Museum cannot return accessioned collection materials to the donor. Once the Collection Committee accepts your donation for the collection, you will be asked to sign a Deed of Gift, which legally transfers ownership of the materials to the Museum.


Can artifacts and documents be removed from the Lynn Museum collection?

The Museum may, with approval from the Board of Directors, remove objects and documents from the collection through a process called deaccessioning. Artifacts or documents that are damaged beyond repair, have a condition that puts other parts of the collection at risk, are duplicative of other items in the collection, or are outside the scope of the collection may be considered for deaccessioning. Deaccessioned material may be donated to another museum or cultural or educational organization, destroyed, or sold. Any proceeds from the sale of deaccessioned material are placed in a restricted collections fund and the money used for the following:

  • Purchasing new artifacts for the collection

  • Conservation

  • Special projects, such as cataloguing or digitizing

  • Supplies to properly house and care for the collection


Does the Lynn Museum accept long-term loans?

The Museum does not accept long-term loans. While it does accept loan materials on a short-term basis in conjunction with exhibitions and other programs, the Museum prefers to commit its resources to the storage and preservation of materials in the collection.


How do researchers access artifacts and documents in the Lynn Museum's collection?

The Museum has a large and diverse collection of prints, photographs, archives, manuscripts, architectural drawings, and published materials in its collection. Museum Staff will conduct research requests and process rights and reproduction for a set fee. Please see our Research page for the formal research inquiry forms.

Access to artifacts, including architectural fragments, paintings, sculpture, works-on-paper, costumes, textiles, and household and industrial objects is limited and is available to researchers by appointment only for a small fee. Please call 781-581-6200 or email for more information.

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