Frequently Asked Questions about Donations

Donate to the Collection

Donations cannot be accepted without prior communication with Collections staff. We do not accept drop-off donations or materials in the mail without prior approval.
Click here to submit your donation request

Q: Does the Museum accept everything that is offered?

A: No. According to SDASM’s mission statement, the Museum collects items relating to the development of aerospace technology and experience. Preference is given to materials that meet the selection and retention criteria specified in the Museum’s Collection Management Policy. The Museum reserves the right to refuse gifts that do not conform to this policy and are inconsistent with the mission of the Museum.

Q: Does the Museum provide appraisals or value estimates for donated material?

A: No. The Museum is prohibited by law from appraising any property, even if it has been donated to the Museum. To obtain an appraisal value for your materials, please contact the American Society of Appraisers, Appraisers' Association of America, or the American Institute of Appraisers.  

Q: What will the Museum do with a donation once it is accepted?

A: The donation will be assigned to either the permanent collection or education collection. The permanent collections are designated for preservation. These items are handled and processed according to the highest museum standards by trained professionals and are exhibited only under secure and safe conditions. The education collection contains materials which are designated for programs. They are used for tour groups, student classes, and tactile learning experiences. The donor will be notified as to which category the donation has been assigned.

Q: Will a donation be put on exhibit?

A: This depends on the item’s appropriateness to the Museum’s exhibition program. Space limitations and conservation concerns dictate that not all of the Museum’s artifacts can be exhibited at any one time. There are many items that should not be exhibited frequently because they may be damaged by exposure to light and the environment. Although the Museum cannot guarantee when or if a donation will be exhibited, donations will receive the best of care, insuring that it will be available for the use of future generations. Exhibits are not the only way donated items are used. Because the Museum is a public institution, collections are available (by appointment) for study by scholars, aviation enthusiasts, and the interested public.

Q: If a donation is put on display, will it be credited to the donor?

A: It is not the Museum’s policy to credit donors in writing within an exhibit. Donors are sometimes credited in a general sponsor panel.

Q: Will a donation ever be loaned to someone else?

A: Permanent collection materials will be loaned only to other museums or cultural institutions, and only to those which adhere to the same high standards of professional museum practice. Items are not loaned to individuals.

Q: Does the Museum take permanent or long-term loans?

A: No. As a nonprofit institution, the Museum does not accept long-termed or so-called “permanent” loans. The Museum has a responsibility to direct its resources toward the general community’s benefit, and not to act as caretakers for an individual’s property. To give collections the very best care and storage conditions, all items in the collections must be owned by the Museum and unencumbered by restrictions.

Q: Can a donor take a tax deduction on a donation?

A: Yes, but the IRS and Museum policy prohibits the Museum from appraising donations. For the donor’s own records and protection, an independent appraisal is recommended. The Museum will make the donation available for inspection by the appraiser of the donor’s choice if done within a reasonable time.

Q: How will the Museum acknowledge a donation?

A: If a donation is accepted for either the permanent or the education collection, the donor will receive a personal letter of thanks. They will also receive a Deed of Gift to sign. The Deed of Gift transfers ownership to the Museum and makes the original provisional receipt null and void.

Q: Will donated materials be returned upon request?

A: No. The Museum can't return accessioned materials to the donor or family member. When the deed of gift is signed, ownership of the materials is legally transferred to the Museum.

Q. Does the Museum cover the cost of shipping for donation items? 

A. No, the cost of shipping donation items to the Museum is the responsibility of the donor. The donor should not ship items to the Museum without donation approval from the Curatorial team. Donation items can also be received in-person at the Museum by appointment only. 

San Diego Air & Space Museum

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