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Making a Donation FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

How do I make a donation?

For donations of physical objects or photographs, contact the Museum Registrar at 541-296-8600 ext. 242, or email

To donate financially, contact the Executive Director at 541-296-8600 ext. 245, or email

What does the museum look for in a physical donation?

The object or image should fit our museum’s mission, to interpret the history of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and/or Wasco County.

The object(s) should also be unique to our collection, meaning it is not something we already have several of. Another consideration, if an object well represented in our collection, is whether it is in significantly better condition or has a stronger history/provenance to our mission.

Can I drop an object off for someone to look at?

We do not accept non-solicited objects. Do not mail us an object or drop it off at the front desk if you have not received acknowledgement of our interest. We have a process we are ethically bound to follow, and must follow policy. We are not liable for unsolicited materials.

What is the process for a physical donation?

Your initial contact should be with the Museum Registrar. The Registrar will ask for an image of the item and as much history about it as you know. The donation query will then be passed to our Collections Advisory Committee, who will make a recommendation for accession or denial of the donation. Once the donation has been approved, the Registrar will work with you to fill out the appropriate forms and arrange for receiving the object. This process can take a couple of months, depending on the meeting cycle of the Collections Advisory Committee, which meets once a month.

What information do you need?

We need the potential donor’s full name, contact phone number, mailing address, and email address. We also need a full history of the object – how did it come into your possession and when, what are the full names of previous owners (if known), how did THEY acquire the object, where was it found or made, how was it used?

What documentation do you need?

The Museum must have a signed Transfer of Ownership (previously called a Statement of Gift). This document indicates the donor has legal authority to transfer the object to the Museum, establishes the museum has legal ownership, provides donor contact information and history/provenance of the object, and establishes the gift is unconditional.

Can I donate an object on someone else’s behalf?

We need a signed Transfer of Ownership agreement. You must be legally authorized to act on their behalf, or able to procure their signature on the agreement. If it is part of a pre-estate settlement for a relative who is incapacitated, you should have the signature of the person with Power of Attorney for the individual.

What if I want the object to be put on exhibit as a condition of my donation?

The museum follows written policy that we do not accept conditions set by the donor for objects entering our collection. All donations must be made as an outright and unconditional gift to be used, exhibited, and/or disposed of at the sole discretion of the Museum. This is a standard policy for most museums. If the donor is unwilling to agree to those terms, then we must respectfully decline the donation.

Why do you set those restrictions?

The museum has a mission, to interpret the history of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, and Wasco County. As such, we have many permanent exhibits to meet that mission for the thousands of visitors from around the world who stop by to learn about the history of the Columbia Gorge. We have carefully selected objects for exhibit that meet our mission to interpret area history for our visitors, based on provenance, topic, and condition of the object. Not every object donated is suitable for exhibit. We do make every effort to assist researchers who inquire about specific topics, and if an appropriate object is in our collection, we gladly share the description, provenance and photos of the object when possible.

How do I learn more about the Museum’s Collection Policy?

You can email the Museum Registrar at and ask for a copy of the Museum’s Collection Policy or download it.


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