Donate to Collections

The Customs House Museum & Cultural Center relies on generous donations from individuals, businesses and community organizations to build our collections and preserve these artifacts for future generations.

The Customs House Museum & Cultural Center’s mission is to collect, preserve and interpret historic, artistic and scientific material primarily related to Montgomery County, Tennessee. This mission is fulfilled in part by the collection, preservation and interpretation of material culture. The Museum maintains two collections for this purpose:

  • Permanent Collection: Artifacts are preserved according to archival standards for the benefit of the public and are available for research, exhibitions and programs.
  • Education Collection: Artifacts are used as educational tools and may be displayed, handled, used for tactile purposes, research and education programming.
Donation Process
  • Complete a Prospective Donation Form with images and contact the Curator of Collections.
  • The Collections Committee will review all prospective donations to ensure the artifacts fit with collecting goals. It may take up to three months to complete this process.
  • If an artifact is accepted, complete and sign a Deed of Gift to legally transfer ownership and title to the Museum.
  • If an artifact is declined, we will notify you in writing, via electronic communication, or by telephone. The declined artifact must be retrieved within sixty (60) days of notification.
  • Donors are welcome to make an appointment to view the artifacts not on exhibit.
What to Donate

Objects, documents, artwork and photographs that have a story to tell can impact our understanding and appreciation of culture. Knowing the who, what, when, where and why of an artifact enhances its ability to portray culture at a given time and place.

Examples:

  • Artwork: Paintings, sculptures and artistic works created by Tennessee residents
  • Items connected to notable Tennesseans: Wilma Rudolph, Mason Rudolph, Clarence C. White, Jimi Hendricks, Nace Dixon, Dorothy Dix, Evelyn Scott, Dr. Robert & Mrs. Emma Burt
  • Event & organization artifacts/ documents: Suffrage, Civil Rights, Temperance, Prohibition, Women’s Clubs and Black Patch Wars
  • Locally used or produced items: sugar chest, jewelry, bicycle and surgeon’s kit
  • Sports memorabilia & equipment: KITTY League baseball, Tennessee Walking Horse and local professional athletes
  • Civil War memorabilia
  • Local business materials: documents, tools, signs or items used at local businesses
  • Photographs: identified local people, places, business, events and buildings
  • Items used for holidays, events and celebrations with associated information
  • Textiles & clothing: samplers, quilts, handmade items, complete outfits pre-1850 or post-1950 with identified wearer and event

Artifacts will be considered for donation if the donor holds clear title to the artifact, the artifact must be within the scope of collections, possess potential for use, be in good condition, be free of legal constraints and be within the capability of the Museum to care for the artifacts.

Tax Incentives

Accepted donations are tax-deductible. The Museum and its staff are unable to provide appraisals, and donors should consult a licensed Internal Revenue Service-approved appraiser or the IRS with questions concerning tax-deductible donations and appraisals.

Don’t have an artifact to donate? You can still help preserve the collections by making a monetary donation on the Donate Page.