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Donating Objects

Our museum is tasked with collecting and preserving historic objects from Champaign County's history.  These objects come in all forms from small buttons to large popcorn trucks!  We continue to seek out items that not only relate to major landmark events in the county but also those that tell the story of its citizens.  


Today we have over 20,000 items in our permanent collection and we continue to accept items every month.   The decision to accept an item into our collection is governed by our collections policy.  This document outlines the types of objects our museum holds and the process by which we acquire them.  Each item must be accepted into the collection by our Board of Trustees and must be accompanied by the proper documentation.  

Search our growing online collection!




Step 1. Photograph the Object


Send the photograph to the Collections Committee Chair ( to get a preliminary assessment of the item and the museum's interest in accepting the collection. 


Note: if the donor skips this step and instead sends the items along with a signed deed of gift to the museum, we reserve the right to reject the item.  In this case, the item may be transferred to another institution, sold to benefit our overall collection, or otherwise discarded in accordance with our collection policy.  


Step 2. Complete the Object Information Forms


If the museum wishes to proceed with acceptance following the preliminary photographic review, you will be asked to provide detailed information about each object in the collection through the "Object Information Form." This form is critical in the process and must be filled out for each individual item.  The Object Information Form tells us the history of the item(s) or what we call provenance.  Without this story and documented connection to Champaign County, the object has little value in our collection. 


Step 3. Sign the Deed of Gift


This step formally transfers ownership of the object to the Museum and places the object in our "trust."  That means this is a permanent transfer of ownership with no expectation that the donor will receive the item back.  The museum will do everything in its power to maintain the item in perpetuity. All future decisions regarding the object will be made per our adopted collections policy.


Step 4. Cataloging and Storage


There is no guarantee that the object you donate will be on display.  Many of our items go into storage for potential use in future exhibits or for future research.  The museum is working hard to create an online repository of these items.  However, we also place the items online for the public to view.  

View the online collection!



Download Forms

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