Donation Procedures


How do I offer an object to the Brownsville Historical Association?

Please send a letter, e-mail, or our online donation offer link telling us about your object and whether you are offering it as a gift, for sale, or as a bequest. It will help us greatly if you can enclose photos or digital images. Please provide a description, including materials, date of manufacture and/or collection, and dimensions; verifiable record of authenticity and provenance (history of ownership); please include information about permits or other documentation demonstrating that the object was collected, transported, exported, imported, acquired, transferred, and possessed in compliance with all United States and foreign laws. This information can be sent to:

Brownsville Historical Association

Collections Manager

1325 E. Washington Street

Brownsville, Texas 78520



How does the Museum decide which objects to accept for the collection?

All items offered for donation to Brownsville Historical Association must be approved by the Museum’s Collection Committee. This is a group of Museum staff and Board of Trustee’s who meet on a regular basis to review proposed additions to the Collection. The Collections Manager will present the proposed donation to the committee and the piece will be evaluated based on a number of criteria outlined in our Collections Management Policy. Of primary importance, all objects acquired by the Museum must fit within the scope of our Mission Statement. In addition, the following conditions must be met:

  1. All objects proposed for acquisition to the Collection should be relevant to the Museum’s stated mission and should be consistent with the purpose and activities of the institution, which chiefly consist of research, preservation, education and exhibition.
  2. The Museum must be able to house and care for the proposed acquisition according to generally accepted museum practices.
  3. The cost and expenditure of staff time and other resources in acquiring, researching, transporting, processing, and storing the objects must fit within the Museum’s available resources.
  4. Objects must be deemed to pose no health risks or other hazards (for staff, visitors, the Museum building and grounds, or Museum collections) that are beyond the ability of staff and facilities to manage.
  5. Objects that duplicate items already in the collection will not be accepted unless they are of superior condition and/or historic value.
  6. Acquisitions to the Collection may be made by purchase, gift, fractional interest gift, bequest, or exchange.
  7. Transfer of title for all objects acquired for the Museum’s Collection is considered outright and unconditional.  Assurance of clear and legal title must be provided by the donor or seller. Only works for which legal title can be firmly established should be considered for acquisition.
  8. Under ordinary circumstances, the Museum does not acquire objects under the condition that they will be on permeant exhibit or on indefinite loan. Any such instances of perpetuity must be approved by the Collections Committee.
  9. Under ordinary circumstances, the Museum does not acquire objects with restrictions. If an object is acquired with restrictions or limitations, these must be stated clearly in the instrument of conveyance and must be approved by the Collections Committee.
  10. The Museum will not accept any donations believed to be improperly represented as to legality, authenticity, condition, or value until such time as the original claim has been substantiated by a competent, independent authority or until the attribution or value has been changed to reflect the true character of the items offered for donation.


Donation FAQ


Can I send my object to the Museum now?

While the museum does not accept "unsolicited donations" or "drop-offs," we are happy to work with you to schedule time to evaluate your potential donation. In general, the best thing to do is to send an email, letter, or complete the online donation offer to the Collections Manager, along with photographs and descriptions of the offered material.


How is ownership transferred?

The legal mechanism for acquiring an object differs from case to case, depending on how the object is offered.

With a gift, as soon as the Museum has decided to accept the donor’s offer, the donor will be provided with two copies of our Deed of Gift for signature. One of these Deeds is to be returned to us; the other is to be kept for the donor’s own records. Arrangements will also be made for the object to arrive at the Museum, if this has not occurred previously. When Museum receives the completed Deed of Gift and the object is in our physical custody, the gift is completed.

With a sale, the object becomes the property of the Brownsville Historical Association once final payment is made. Payment will not be authorized until Museum receives the object in good condition.


Can I get a tax deduction for donating my collection?

The IRS allows individuals to take a tax deduction for items donated to charitable organizations. IRS Publication 561 will tell you about what they require and how you can go about using this tax benefit. If you are interested in the tax benefits of donating your art and artifacts, you should discuss this with a qualified tax specialist or attorney.


Can the Museum appraise my collection?

Federal law prevents the Museum from providing identification services or appraisal values for donated items. Contact the Collections Manager for a list of qualified appraisers. The Museum is in no way affiliated with these organizations.


I will make a gift only if I can set certain conditions for my object. Are you still interested?

Our practice and policy is to not accept gifts that come with strings attached. Conditions are often not in line with modern museum practices, may not reflect our constituencies’ expectations and needs, or are at odds with Museum guidelines.

Hours of Operation:

Tuesday - Saturday: 10:00am to 4:00pm

Sundays - Mondays: CLOSED



Hours of Operation:

Tuesday - Saturday: 10:00am to 4:00pm

Sundays - Mondays: CLOSED

1325 E. Washington Street, Brownsville, Texas 78520

1 (956) 541-5560

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