Artefact Donations: Frequently Asked Questions

Is the National Air Force Museum of Canada still accepting items?

Yes. The Museum is interested in materials relating to Canadian military aviation, from inception to present. However, we are only collecting a limited selection of items. Please fill out the Intention to Donate form and submit it to the Curatorial staff for consideration.

Can I loan you my item(s)?

The Museum does accept some loans for artefacts; however, they must have a clear place in a current or upcoming exhibit, and a set end date for the loan. The Museum is not able to accept loans of artefacts that do not have a clearly defined role in our exhibit schedule or that have an indefinite return date. If you think you have an artefact that may be of interest for a loan, please contact the Museum’s Curator.

What is a Donation Agreement?

A Donation Agreement is a type of contract that outlines the full transfer of ownership of items to the Museum. You will be asked to sign a Donation Agreement when you donate an artefact. It is signed by both the donor and a representative of the Museum. The National Air Force Museum of Canada is part of the Department of National Defence, as a non-public entity. All donated items become public property and thus crown assets.

Am I entitled to an income tax receipt?

Once the Donation Agreement is signed by the donor, curatorial staff will issue an income tax receipt, if so requested. Based on Canada Revenue Agency requirements, the receipt has to reflect the fair market value of donated artefacts. This means that all items have to be appraised by the Museum staff and, if necessary, other recognized appraisers. In some cases, the appraisal may be a long process and therefore the income tax receipt delayed.

Will the artefacts be displayed?

The decision to display all donated artefacts depends entirely upon the Museum’s exhibitions policy, therefore not all items are directed to the showcases. The Museum does not guarantee artefacts will ever be exhibited. Once an artefact is donated, it is available for a variety of purposes. This can include research, loans to other accredited cultural institutions, and exhibits. Only a small percentage of the Museum’s collection is on display at any given time, but just because you do not see it on display, does not mean it is not being cared for and used in other ways!

What happens to items that are not on display?

All donated artefacts are catalogued into the Museum’s database and stored in a climate controlled environment. Being in storage allows artefacts to rest and recover from their time on display, away from damaging UV light, and the shifts in temperature and humidity that come from being in a public setting. In order to ensure the long-term preservation of our artefacts, it is preferable that all artefacts have time in storage. The Museum’s artefacts that are not on display can be accessed by donors and their families, by appointment.

In addition, some of the artefacts may be loaned out to accredited institutions as part of the Museum’s regular exhibition activity and/or outreach programs, and utilized for research purposes by both Museum staff and external researchers.

Will my donated shadow box stay together? Will my framed items remain in their donated frame?

Most often, the answer is no. Most shadow boxes are not of the archival quality mandated for museum collection storage. Often the supplies used in framing prints, photographs, and other documents are also not archival quality. Our goal is the long-term preservation of artefacts. To meet that goal, we must house all our artefacts in ways that prevent deterioration. This means we will often dismantle the shadow box and un-frame prints/documents so that the individual items can be stored according to museum best practices.

Can I borrow the donated artefacts back once they have been donated?

In general, because of the increased risk of loss or damage, the Museum does not lend objects to individuals.

What if I change my mind?

By signing the Donation Agreement, you are transferring full ownership of the item from yourself to the Museum in perpetuity. If you have any concerns, please contact us before signing.

Will the artefacts be kept forever?

The Museum’s collections policy contains a strong directive against the disposal of objects from its collections. However, in exceptional circumstances, the Museum may dispose of items, in accordance with the Museum’s Code of Ethics.

Are books and magazines accepted as donations?

The Museum does accept book and periodical donations; however, we require a list of the books prior to accepting donations. This helps us eliminate duplications of our holdings. In such cases where titles are considered unsuitable or it duplicates what is already held in the library, the donor is given the option to donate them to the Museum’s gift shop, where all profits go to the Museum fund. As with artefact donations, a donation agreement will be issued, and if requested, an income tax receipt.

What happens if the Museum closes down?

The Museum’s collections are held in trust for the Canadians and, in the event of permanent closure, we would expect the collections to be transferred elsewhere within the Canadian cultural network.