Donation FAQ

How do I make an object donation to the Valentine?

It is important for Valentine staff to screen objects proposed for donation to ensure that they meet the museum’s collecting criteria. To provide this information, please fill out our Object Donation Form.

Valentine staff will review the information to you submit and will contact you to gather more information or to direct you to another institution. If you are unable to complete the form online, please call the Valentine (804-649-0711) to speak with member of our curatorial team.

May I drop off or mail a donation?

The Valentine cannot accept unsolicited donations through the mail or in person without prior communication with the Museum’s curatorial staff.

How long does the donation process take to complete?

The process takes about 3 months. After Valentine staff determines that an object may fit the museum’s collecting criteria, staff will schedule a time for you to drop off your donation. Curatorial staff will then review the object further, and the donation will be brought to the Valentine’s Collections Committee and Board of Trustees for approval. Finally, Deeds of Gift are sent to donors for signature to complete transfer of title and rights.

May Valentine staff appraise or authenticate objects?

Valentine staff may not provide monetary appraisals, as the Internal Revenue Service deems museums an interested party and therefore a conflict of interest. Staff may also not authenticate objects. To find an appraiser in your area, please contact the following organizations:

American Society of Appraisers

International Society of Appraisers

Appraisers Association of America

Can I take a tax deduction for my donation?

Object donations to the Valentine are generally tax deductible based on their fair market value. Consult with your tax professional or the Internal Revenue Service regarding your particular situation.

Will materials I donate be exhibited or available for research?

The Valentine’s collection contains approximately 1.7 million objects, and therefore only a very small percentage is exhibited at any one time. However, the Museum’s collection is available for research. Visit Research for more information.

May I request that materials I donate be returned to me?

The Valentine cannot return collection materials to a donor. Signing a Deed of Gift legally and permanently transfers ownership and rights to materials to the Museum.

Does the Valentine accept objects on long-term loan?

The Valentine does not accept long-term loans. Objects may be borrowed during current exhibitions, but limited resources prevent the museum from storing and preserving objects that it does not own.