History San José’s collection grows through donations from the public. These donations are used for research, educational programs, and exhibits. Please note we do not have an acquisitions budget and cannot pay you for your donation, not can we cannot guarantee that your donation will be exhibited. Artifacts and fine art are stored in our Collection Center, photographed and made available through our online catalog. Archival and photographic materials are cataloged, scanned as appropriate, and made available to researchers through several avenues: our online catalog, Calisphere, the Online Archive of California, and through in-person appointment.
We encourage a financial donation of $25 to accompany your physical donation. This contributes to the cost of staff time to clean, catalog, and photograph/digitize your donation, as well as purchase of the acid-free containers in which your materials will be stored for long-term preservation.
Complete the mandatory Donation to Collection form for consideration. Your submission will be considered by the Collections Committee, which meets every month. Under most circumstances, you will be notified of our decision within 30 days of completing the form. We may contact you for further information in the meantime.
What We Collect
Priority is given to materials that are:
- created by the people, companies and organizations of the Santa Clara Valley;
- illustrative of 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.
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”)