All donations start with you reaching out through our Contact us portal.
Please explain what you would like to donate, the history of the items, and their connection to Atlanta. Information about the owner and when or how they were made or acquired is also helpful. An Atlanta History Center (AHC) team member will follow up with a request for photos and additional information. Materials will be assessed at the monthly Collections Development Committee meeting and all donors will be notified of the committee’s decision.
The Atlanta History Center (AHC) works to connect people, history, and culture. To achieve that, we collect and document the lives of people in and around Atlanta, including all aspects of daily life. Materials that we collect vary from archival material like journals, letters, documents, photos, film, and video to museum and living collections like textiles, locally made items, business signs, local varieties of plants, and animals. Our priority is to collect items that help us tell a story about Atlanta and its environs. Details are important as the Collections Development Committee uses them to determine if the item will fit in our collection.
Unfortunately, we are unable to accept everything submitted. The Collections Development Committee is tasked with carefully assessing offered items to ensure that our collections help tell the history of Atlanta while also being the best steward of our limited resources.
Constant display of a single item is often detrimental to the long-term preservation of an item, so even if your item is put on display, it will likely be for a limited time. At any given time we have about 5% of our collections on display. The remaining items are carefully catalogued and stored in a temperature and humidity-controlled environment and are made available to researchers, loaned to other museums when appropriate, and are assessed for future exhibit use.
You don’t need to do anything to prepare museum items! We want them in their current condition. With archival items, please do not add your own comments on the original documents. Instead, tell us any extra information or comments you might have about names, locations, etc.
Whenever possible, we like to collect items in groups. As an example, if you have a quilt made by your grandmother, a photo of her, biographical information, and even perhaps part of her sewing kit that would tell a much more complete story than just one of these items.
Documents, photographs, and published materials will be available in the Kenan Research Center Reading Room in McElreath Hall during regular hours (Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Requests to see museum objects should be made to the collections manager at firstname.lastname@example.org and require at least four weeks of advance notice.
The Atlanta History Center is a 501(c)3 organization, so all donations or gifts-in-kind are tax deductible. The donor is responsible for determining and documenting the value of a donation. AHC staff cannot appraise materials, but can provide a list of certified appraisers.
Materials are not accepted on long term loan, nor can agreements be made to return deeded materials to heirs. Occasionally, short term loans for specific exhibits are accepted. The Deed of Gift, signed by every donor, gives the Atlanta History Center (AHC) ownership of the materials. The AHC accepts responsibility for preserving each donation for generations to come.
Yes. Please contact our collections manager at 404-814-2068 and let them know of the planned bequest along with as much information as possible about the items you wish to donate. Please explain what the items are, their significance to local history, who used them, and when and where they were used. Make sure it is clear in your will that you have bequeathed the material to the AHC.
Please note, bequests must meet collections requirements at the time of their donation.