Artifact Donations

While the Dickinson Museum Center does collect many things, not all items are appropriate for its collections. In accordance with the museum’s collections policy, all potential donations must be reviewed by the collections manager prior to legal transfer of property taking place. The collections manager looks at if it relates to the regional history, fulfills the needs of the museum, does not duplicate existing items already in the collection, and if the museum can adequately care for the item.

The Dickinson Museum Center is unable to provide appraisals for the monetary value of materials brought in for identification, offered as gifts, or submitted for any other purpose.

To offer an item for donation to the Dickinson Museum Center, please request an appointment with the collections manager either by email at or by phone 701-456-6225.

Object Identification

The Dickinson Museum Center will assist individuals with the identification of an object, and its related history, independent of monetary value.  This research, depending on the object and what is already known about it, can take a great deal of time away from the regular responsibilities of the museum staff.  Any research undertaken on the behalf of individuals is subject to a research fee of $25 per hour.

Artifact Preservation:

Why does it cost so much to care for museum objects? There are many factors involved in caring for an artifact. Artifacts are stored in acid-free containers in a climate-controlled building. Some items take a considerable amount of time to properly document and preserve. The museum keeps records on everything that can be found out about an item including its history; information on how it was used; when and where it was made; who made it; and who used it. The physical description of each and every artifact is recorded, and a condition record is kept in the Museum’s files (such as if it has stains or is broken in some way). Hard copy records are then entered into a computer database. Eventually, finding aids will be created and added to the Dickinson Museum Center’s website to make some of this information available to researchers.

Many steps are involved in caring for and documenting just one object. When that is multiplied by the thousands of objects in the museum’s collections, it becomes easier to see why collection management costs the museum so much time and money.

Without essential supplies and the time necessary to properly care for objects, future generations may not be able to see the valuable things the Dickinson Museum Center has been working to preserve. If you would like to contribute time or money to preserving the artifacts in the museum’s collection, or if you have items to donate to the museum, please contact museum staff at 701-456-6225 or

Volunteers interested in learning how to catalog and preserve museum collections are encouraged to contact the museum for more information on training opportunities.

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