Donating Artifact Collections

Occasionally, individuals or families possess or inherit artifact collections they wish to dispose of, but that they want to preseve and maintain for others to learn from and enjoy. Currently, the FOAS does not have a curation facility that allows for permanent display and interpretation of artifacts…..but that is in our future plans! If you have a collection that you would like to donate for the public good, we can still help you. There are several options available.

  • We can work with you to make arrangements to curate the collection in a federally accredited facility, such as the William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology at the University of Kentucky in Lexington; the Program of Archaeology at the University of Louisville; or one of several universities in Indiana.
  • Ocasionally, other state and local museums will accept collections that were recovered from their geographic areas. We can help you locate and identify an appropriate one.
  • If the collection is not too large, the FOAS can store it and use it for a teaching collection or educational display, with the eventual goal of incorporating it into a public display.

Commonly Asked Questions

Can I get paid for donating my collection?

The FOAS does not encourage the buying, selling, or trading of artifacts. It is always a bad policy to attempt to put a price on any artifact or collection. To do so tends to increase the market for looters and other individuals who collect for their private financial gain.

There are some cases, however, where tax credits or a dollar value is assigned to a collection for the purposes of itemizing it as a tax deduction. If the collection is made to a not-for-profit or scientific organization for the purposes of the public good, it may be possible to provide documentation of a dollar value for tax write-off. This is a rather gray area, however, in terms of professional ethics, and each situation must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. For instance, the scientific “value” of a collection is dependent on the reliable documentation of its origin. If the precise site where the artifacts were collected is known, it is more important as scientifically useful data.