Donations to the Collection

History San José’s collection grows through donations from the public. We serve as responsible stewards for objects, furniture, textiles, photographs, books, documents, and audiovisual recordings of historic importance to the Santa Clara Valley. These donations are used for research and for creating informative permanent and rotating exhibits.

Complete the Donation to Collection form for consideration.

What We Collect

Priority is given to materials that are:

  • used by, created by, or that document people of the Santa Clara Valley;
  • illustrative of regional, state, national, or international cultures, experiences, or events that specifically relate to, or assist in understanding the continuing heritage of the Santa Clara Valley.

Please understand that we cannot accept everything people wish to donate. Adding items to our collection is a serious responsibility. Donations must fulfill the Museum’s mission, and the Museum must be able to care for the items it accepts. Donations are considered by appointment only to facilitate discussion with the potential donor.

What if my donation is accepted?

You will be asked to sign a Deed of Gift which transfers the legal ownership of the objects to History San José.

Why wasn’t my donation accepted?

HSJ has an extensive collection of historical materials and objects. An offer may be declined if:

  • Similar items already exist in the Collection.
  • The physical condition is poor and/or it is not suitable for display.
  • The Museum cannot ethically care for the item due to its size, condition, or projected costs associated with caring for that item.
  • The item is not relevant to the collection and the Museum’s purpose and scope.

Can I receive a tax deduction for my donation?

Tax deductions as a charitable donation may be applied to both donation of artifacts and other items as well as cash and stock transfer contributions. HSJ advises you to seek the counsel of a tax professional. HSJ is a federally-registered non-profit corporation under section 501(c) 3 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

The Museum is forbidden by law to make appraisals of items donated or potentially donated to it. For information on appraisal services or to find an appraiser near you, please consult the following organizations:

The Appraisers Association of America (includes the article “Elements of a Correctly Prepared Appraisal”)
The American Society of Appraisers
International Society of Appraisers
The Appraisal Foundation (includes the article “A Consumers Guide to Appraisals and Selecting an Appraiser”)