Generally, the HHS collects objects, ephemera, photographs, and documents, relating to the history of Hardwick with regard for its changing history life and culture over time. Some items that may not fit our permanent collection may make excellent additions to our education collection.
What items does the Hardwick Historical Society not collect?
The HHS only accepts items that directly relate to the history of Hardwick. Accepting items simply because they are “old” is not enough, no matter how fascinating they might be.
Why can’t the Hardwick Historical Society accept everything? Why weren’t my items accepted?
Documenting, cataloging, preserving, and storing artifacts are very costly. Every museum must discriminate about it will accept, because each museum has a defined mission and limited resources. We decline items that do not meet our collecting criteria, if the HHS already owns duplicates or owns similar representations, or if condition is poor.
Why and how is ownership of my donation formally transferred to the Hardwick Historical Society?
In order for the HHS to incorporate new acquisitions into its catalog, it must first have legal possession of that object. To complete the donation process, the HHS volunteer will provide two copies of a “Deed of Gift” – a form that legally and irrevocably transfers ownership to the HHS. The HHS retains one copy, while the donor retains the other for his/her records. The Deed of Gift is the donor’s official gift receipt and may be used as proof of donation for tax purposes.
What recognition do donors receive?
When we exhibit artifacts, we acknowledge the donors via the display label. A donor may specify how she/he wishes their name to be listed (within the limits of length and good taste). Donors may not place special conditions on how the HHS displays or labels their donation.
What about tax deductions?
The HHS buildings, the Depot and the Section Tool House, are owned and operated by the Town of Hardwick and operated as a public trust institution. Your gift may qualify as a charitable deduction for federal income tax purposes. The Deed of Gift, which donors are required to sign to transfer ownership of the donation to the HHS, also serves as a tax receipt. The HHS advises you to seek the counsel of a tax professional.
Can you tell me how much something I own is worth?
No. The IRS prohibits the HHS from providing any information on the value (real or perceived) of any object(s) donated or potentially donated to it. To locate an appraiser, consider contacting the Appraisers Association of America or the American Society of Appraisers. Also, there are books available within specific subject domains that describe market prices.
Will you keep my donation forever?
Collections staff periodically assess the collection and may elect to remove selected artifacts. Criteria for removal include materials that no longer serve the HHS’s mission, duplicative holdings, holdings that present a hazard, holding we cannot adequately store or preserve, and artifact which have components have physically deteriorate over time. The decision to remove items requires approval by the Collections Committee, and is never taken lightly. Materials removed from the collection cannot be returned to donors, but may be transferred to other museums or sold to fund care of other parts of our collections.
Where and when will you display my donation?
The Hardwick Historical Society actively collect objects today for display far into the future. With rare exception, the HHS will not immediately display a donation and makes no guarantee that your donated artifact(s) will be displayed at any particular time. When the HHS develops an exhibition, staff reviews the artifacts available and chooses those items that best suit the exhibition’s theme and messages. However, all donations are cataloged and stored, and are accessible to the public doing research.