Donate an Object

The Penn Museum accepts donations of documented ethnographic and archaeological materials that are free of major conservation concerns for the express purpose of preservation, research, exhibition, and/or public education. Objects from antiquity, if exported from their country of origin after 1970, will be considered only if the donor can provide evidence documenting their legal exportation in accordance with the Museum's 1970 Pennsylvania Declaration and the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. Additionally, the Museum adheres to pertinent U.S. laws and international treaties regarding cultural properties.

If you would like to donate objects to the Penn Museum, please send all inquiries to the Senior Registrar (see contact info below) and include the following:

  • A statement expressing the intention to donate the object(s)
  • Information pertaining to the object(s)'s ownership history and any relevant object-related information
  • Object photograph(s), preferably indicating the scale/size of the object(s)

All donation proposals are first reviewed by the Museum's relevant Curatorial Sections and then further reviewed by the Museum's Acquisitions Committee. This Committee meets twice a year (typically May and December) and makes recommendations to the Museum Director for final approval. For donors wishing to have their donation considered in time for a year-end charitable contribution, inquiries with all required information should be submitted no later than November 20 of the relevant year. The Museum has an extended holiday vacation each December and will process last-minute donations early in the following year unless special arrangements are made in advance.

A few other key items to note:

  • Objects offered for donation should only be delivered to the Penn Museum upon the Museum's request
  • Potential donors may be asked to assist in covering the cost of transporting the object(s) to the Penn Museum
  • Donors will generally be asked to provide cash support of 10% of the appraised value (or the donor's estimated value) of the object(s) for the ongoing maintenance of the donated object(s). This request may be waived on a case-by-case basis.
  • Non-cash contributions to the Penn Museum are tax deductible at Fair Market Value (FMV) in accordance with the provisions of the Internal Revenue Service. To take a charitable tax deduction, the donor should obtain an appraisal from a qualified appraiser not earlier than sixty (60) days before the contribution (donation) of the property. Federal law prevents Penn Museum staff from providing appraisals, however, the Museum will provide contact information for the regional branch of the Appraisers Association of America or the American Society of Appraisers.

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(215) 898-7900





3260 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 898-4000


Tuesday-Sunday: 10:00am - 5:00pm
First Wednesdays: 10:00am - 8:00pm
Monday: CLOSED


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