Donate To Collection

Donating Materials to GCHS

The Goodhue County Historical Society is home to a diverse historical collection. GCHS strives to collect exceptional material that may further the Society’s mission. This material may come from individuals or organizations.

Before something is accepted into the collection, it must undergo a review process and meet standards set in GCHS’s official collections scope. Due to storage and financial concerns, not all items are accepted.

If you are interested in donating something, please review the following frequently asked questions before reaching out to GCHS.

What kinds of things does GCHS collect?

We collect a wide variety of materials including, but not limited to:

  • historical objects
  • photographs
  • books
  • manuscripts
  • maps
  • videos
  • art
  • & more!
A vintage keyboard

Portable keyboard, created by Professor B. F. Laukandt, instructor and director of the Conservatory of Music at the Lutheran Ladies Seminary in the early 1900s.

What kinds of things does GCHS NOT collect?

In most cases, we do not currently accept:

  • newspapers
  • wedding dresses
  • family Bibles
  • magazines
  • unidentified photographs
  • geological or archaeological materials
  • foreign military memorabilia & military uniforms
  • items not related to Goodhue County
  • items with uncertain origin or provenance

How can I donate something?

First, please contact the Goodhue County Historical Society with information about what you would like to donate. The more details you’re able to provide, the easier it will be for staff to evaluate if the item will fit into GCHS’s collection. Staff will schedule an appointment to bring the item to the History Center if it seems like something that might fit.

Can you appraise my items?

Museum staff are unable to assign a monetary value to any item. Please contact a professional appraisal service if you would like something assessed.

Can I send/mail/bring something in right away?

We ask that you contact us to make an appointment before bringing in your potential donation. It avoids any issues with staff scheduling and helps save time. Additionally, please do not mail potential donations without a direct request from staff.

Please note: GCHS reserves the right to dispose of any unsolicited materials left at the Goodhue County History Center.

Who evaluates and cares for items?

At GCHS, collection management and care is split between two positions—the Curator and the Archives Manager. Generally, the Curator handles all three-dimensional items (historical objects & art), and the Archives Manager all two-dimensional items (photographs, books/papers, & digital media). If your potential donation clearly fits into one category, you’re welcome to reach out to either the Curator or Archives Manager about your donation. Otherwise, general donation inquiries can be directed to

What happens when I donate something?

If staff believe your donation will fit into GCHS’s collection, there will be some paperwork for you to sign to give GCHS permission to keep your item while the rest of the process continues. Your donation will need to be approved by GCHS’s Collections Committee and Board of Directors before final paperwork will be sent to officially transfer ownership.

How is the decision to take or decline an item made?

There are numerous factors staff review before accepting or declining an item and each case is unique. Available storage space and current representation in the collection are often key considerations. However, accepted items must always meet the following:

  • It can be cared for and stored by the Society in perpetuity
  • It is not encumbered with conditions that limit its ability to support GCHS’s mission
  • It comes with satisfactory provenance
  • It enhances one of GCHS’s established areas of collecting or it makes a significant contribution for a new area of collecting

Is the collection accessible to the public?

Yes! As stated in our collections management policy, GCHS “aims to make its permanent collection, research collection, publications, and museum practices widely available to the public.” While something might not always be on display in an exhibit, you can view the majority of our collection online—and we’re working to soon make our entire collection accessible. It is also possible to contact the Curator or Archives Manager for an appointment to study items.

MN Collections

Can something donated by me or my ancestors be returned to me?

Items formally accessioned into GCHS’s collection cannot be returned to the donor or their descendants. The final step of the donation process asks donors to sign a Deed of Gift from which legally transfers ownership and associated rights to the Goodhue County Historical Society.

Scroll to Top