Connecting to Collections Care Online Community

Potential Donor Requests

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    • #134210
      Caitlyn Reid

      Hi, I am currently a student in the George Washington University Museum Studies program and I was wondering how museum professionals balance the safety of the collection with requests of potential donors or even trustees. Where is the line drawn with extreme requests, actions or demands. How is a museum professional supposed to act without offending the donor or trustee while keeping the collections safe? For example, with special events, tours or when special guests are allowed to see objects up close.

      Thank you,
      Caitlyn Reid

    • #134211
      Tammy Zavinski

      Hi Caitlyn,

      Thank you for contacting the Connecting to Collections online community.

      Just because a request comes from a potential donor, does not make it acceptable to break policy.

      You would first assess whether or not the request is consistent with your museum’s policies and procedures. Your policies were developed for a reason and knowing those reasons under
      these circumstances will be most helpful. If the request is against
      policy, explain why the policy exists and provide options that your
      potential donor might find acceptable as an alternate plan.

      If the request does not break policy or cause harm to the collections, in other words if it is just and inconvenience; do everything you can to accommodate the request.

      If the potential client is considering your museum as a permanent home for their collections, they will appreciate that these same safeguards will be applied to their donations.

      Kind regards,
      Tammy Zavinski

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