Donation of Money, Time & Artifacts
The Department of Human Ecology supports the Clothing and Textiles Collection at the University of Alberta. While it provides state-of-the-art facilities, our storage space is finite, as is our budget and our ability to take on the financial responsibilities attached to every artifact we accept.
There are many ways one can contribute to the running and development of the Clothing and Textile Collection. To ensure long-term viability, funds can be given to our Endowment, where only the interest is spent while the principal remains untouched. Funds that spend the principal include the Operating & Acquisition Fund to help with our recurring costs such as the purchase of equipment, service contracts, repairs and upgrades to our facilities.
Money given specifically for the purchase of artifacts will be ear-marked and spent only on the acquisition of artifacts that are not likely to be obtained through donations. Donors may choose to honour a person or organization of their choice through the purchase of artifacts. These types of donations will be acknowledged in the credit line that follows the objects through different types of displays.
Priority objectives that will help us achieve our long-term vision include:
1) Endowed Conservator Faculty Service Officer
2) Web site Development Fund
3) Exhibition Fund
4) Endowed Fellowship
5) Mannequin Fund
6) Acquisition Fund
7) Publication Fund
8) Endowed Collections Manager and Curator Positions
For more information on these, please visit our “Vision” page or contact the curator.
While we are happy to accept artifacts that strengthen our Collection and help us achieve our goals, we strongly recommend that you accompany your gift with the financial resources to help maintain it in our museum-quality storage in perpetuity. Every object will require numerous hours of staff time to ensure its physical well-being. To protect our collection, all objects entering our storage need to be vacuumed, fumigated and carefully examined for mold and mildew. They also need to be stabilized, tagged, catalogued and stored according to the materials they are made from and their physical condition. A special mount or support will often need to be hand-crafted and custom-made using archival materials. Your support to our Endowment will help us cover staff time and materials as well as the maintenance of our storage and conservation facilities.
The Collection provides unique volunteer opportunities for students, staff and community members. Volunteering in the Collection is a fun and rewarding opportunity to indulge a passion for history and material culture, as well as to make a real impact in the functioning of the Department. Our volunteers gain experience working in a specialized academic collection and learn about a wide range of museum principles and practices.
Collection volunteers undertake such activities as:
- Conserving and storing
- Digital photography
- Database organization
- Installation of exhibitions
- Assistance with free public tours of the facilities
To learn more about volunteer opportunities, please contact:
Vlada Blinova, Collections Manager
103 Human Ecology
Phone: (780) 492-2528
The Curator will be happy to look at every object offered to the collection. However, because our storage room is limited and space is at a premium, we only accept about three per cent of what is offered to us each year. The donation process can be lengthy. We first request that a photograph of the object be sent via e-mail or regular mail. We ask that you please give us as much information as you can on the object, such as how it came to be in your possession, what it is, who made it and when, where it was fabricated or used and how it was produced. From there, we will survey our collection to see what we have that may be similar. If the object is not redundant, we will present it to the Collection Management Committee for review. The Committee will decide whether the piece fits our mission, adds to our holdings and has a use in the classroom and for research. Once an agreement is reached, the donor will be contacted so that we may assess the object’s condition and make our final decision. Please do not drop off or send artifacts before they are requested: we do not have enough staff and resources to treat and hold pieces until a decision is made.
While we are happy to accept artifacts that strengthen our Collection and help us achieve our goals, we strongly recommend that you accompany your gift with the financial resources to help maintain it in our museum quality storage in perpetuity. Every object will require numerous hours of staff time to insure its physical well-being. To protect our collection, all objects entering our storage need to be vacuumed, fumigated and carefully examined for mold and mildew. They also need to be stabilized, tagged, catalogued and stored according to their materials and condition. A special mount or support will often need to be hand-crafted and custom-made using archival materials. Your support to our Endowment will help us cover staff time and materials as well as the running of our storage and conservation facilities.
A list of the types of clothing and textiles we are actively seeking can be found in the document Information for Prospective Donors (PDF).
Can I mail or drop off a donation?
The Collection cannot accept unsolicited donations through the mail or in person without first looking at a picture of the object. Please contact the curator, Dr. Anne Bissonnette, before bringing anything on site.
How are potential donations reviewed?
Your proposed donation will first be evaluated as a potential addition to the Collection by the collections manager and curator. If we do not have anything similar and if your donation offer fits the Collection's mission, you may be contacted for additional information about your donation.
If your donation offer fills a gap in the Collection it will be recommended to the Collection Management Committee for consideration at its quarterly meeting. The committee is made up of staff knowledgeable in both the scope of the collection as well as the conservation issues associated with artifact care. The committee uses the criteria specified in the official collecting guidelines, as well as current collecting goals, to guide its decisions. It also takes into consideration the condition of the object and the availability of resources required to store and care properly for the artifact as well as cataloging the material to make it accessible. The sensitive nature of materials or ownership of copyrights may also factor into acquisitions decisions.
If you have questions, concerns, or issues or you wish to check on the
status of your proposed donation, please contact the curator.
How long does it take to review proposed donations?
Typically, the process takes six months. If your donation is provisionally accepted, it will be submitted to the Collection Management Committee, which meets quarterly to review proposed donations. However, regular reviews may be postponed when staff time is otherwise committed to the development of exhibitions or special programs. If your proposed donation is accepted by the Collection Management Committee, you will be contacted by the curator or the collections manager to arrange to sign a Donation Agreement, which legally transfers ownership of the property to the University of Alberta, and to pick up any offered items which may have been declined.
Can I receive an income tax receipt for my donation?
The University of Alberta is recognized as a charitable organization and may issue receipts for income tax purposes. If you request an income tax receipt, our collections manager will search auction houses’ and other types of web sites to try to establish the fair market value needed to prepare the appraisal and the University will issue you a tax receipt.
This kind of research can be an extremely time-consuming process and, in some cases, unsuccessful. When that is the case, the collection manager can arrange for a professional appraiser to perform this research or in-depth object evaluation to produce an appraisal for income tax purposes. As the University will be charged a fee for appraisals, the donor will be asked to reimburse the Collection for the cost of the appraisal. If the donor is unwilling to assume this cost, the artifacts may be returned.
Please note: appraisals will only be conducted if the donor has signed a Donation Agreement Form irrevocably transferring ownership of the object(s) from the donor to the University (as per the Appraisals of Museum Objects for Charitable Receipting Purposes Procedure).
Will the Clothing and Textiles Collection exhibit the artifacts in my donation?
The Collection cannot guarantee that any objects donated to its collection will be exhibited, though objects are actively used in teaching and research at the University of Alberta. Only a small fraction of the collection is on view at any given time, and exhibition space is extremely limited. However, objects from the Collection are occasionally loaned to other institutions for temporary exhibitions, and many artifacts and documents in the collection are made available for research purposes or by appointment.
If I donate artifacts or documents to the Collection, will they be returned to me at my request?
The Collection cannot return accessioned collection materials to the donor. Once the Collection Management Committee accepts your donation for the collection, you will be asked to sign a Donation Agreement form, which legally and irrevocably transfers ownership of the materials from the donor to the University of Alberta.
Does the Collection accept long-term loans?
The Collection does not accept long-term loans. While it does accept loan materials on a short-term basis in conjunction with exhibitions and other programs, the University prefers to commit its resources to the storage and preservation of materials in the Collection.
How do researchers access artifacts and documents in the Clothing and Textiles Collection?
Teaching and research are the two main purposes of the Clothing and Textiles Collection. A limited number of objects may be on display in the Human Ecology Building Gallery, or other venues, at any given time. Many of the artifacts in the Collection have been photographed, and are viewable on the Collection database, which is updated regularly. Physical access is extremely limited and is available to researchers by appointment only. Guided behind-the-scenes tours for groups may also be arranged, if staff time permits.