Donate an Artifact

A Guide to Donating Artifacts

The Canadian Canoe Museum appreciates your interest in helping to preserve Canada’s canoeing heritage and to build its collection through donation.

The Museum is a private, not-for-profit organization. It provides stewardship for a remarkable collection of watercraft that is national and international in scope. It is also the largest collection of its kind in the world. In keeping with its mission and core values, the Museum collects objects and archival material  associated with the rich cultural and technical heritage of the canoe, kayak and paddled watercraft.

The following questions and answers will help give you an overview of the process of donating objects.

What should I do if I want to donate an object to the museum?

You should contact the museum by phone or email and express your interest in donating. All potential donation inquiries will be directed to the museum’s curatorial department. If you would like to bring your object to the museum, you must contact the Curator first. Please, no drop-off donations!


Phone: 705-748-9153 x207
Email: [email protected]

Our Curatorial team will discuss your potential donation and guide you through the process. You will be provided with a questionnaire via email that will help us gather as much information as possible about your object. We may request information on:

  • the object’s known history and provenance (who owned it or other historical associations of special interest)
  • its condition
  • known past restoration efforts or modifications
  • manufacturer’s marks
  • model or serial number
  • details of use
  • dimensions
  • other details as appropriate
  • current photographs

I’ve completed the questionnaire and have given the information to the curatorial team. Now what?

The Museum’s curatorial team will compare the object with the Museum’s current holdings and its relevance to the collection. One of two outcomes will occur:

  1. The object(s) will be presented to the Museum’s Collections Committee for further assessment to be considered for the permanent or handling collection.
  2. The curatorial staff may determine that your object is not suitable for the collection (for reasons of duplication, poor condition, lack of provenance, etc.), and the curator may recommend another museum or archive whose collecting mandate more closely relates to your object(s).

What is the difference between the permanent and handling collection?

The permanent collection includes artefacts and archival material accepted for the purposes of programming, workshops, demonstrations, traveling exhibitions and interactive exhibition components. Best practice in care and handling will be employed when dealing with this collection.

The handling collection includes artfacts and archival material accepted for the purposes of programming, workshops, demonstrations, travelling exhibitions and interactive exhibition components. Items in the handling collection will be documented and treated with a reasonable standard of care.

What does the Collections Committee do?

The Museum’s Collections Committee meets quarterly to review and make decisions on all potential acquisitions. They determine if an object is suitable for the permanent collection, handling collection, or is unsuitable for either collection based on criteria outlined in the museum’s Collections Management Policy. They assess each object on the basis of:

  • Relevance: the object(s) must support the Museum’s mission, objectives and fit within its collecting criteria
  • Physical Condition: the object(s) must be in an appropriate condition and a reasonable state of completeness
  • Use: the object(s) must have the capacity for use in exhibitions, research, public programming and/or education
  • Documentation: the object(s) must have no unreasonable restrictions or encumbrances constraining the Museum’s right to        exercise full stewardship, care, use, management or disposition of the material. The donormust have free and clear title of the object(s).
  • Authenticity: the object(s) must have a demonstrated authenticity and established provenance.
  • Rarity:  The object(s) must be unique or relatively rare, a fine example of its type or not well-represented in the collection
  • Safety: the object(s) must pose no hazard to the facility, other objects, staff, visitors or volunteers
  • Duplication:  The object(s) cannot be a duplicate of something in the museum’s collection unless the object offered is in better condition or is a better representation.

Please note: The Museum’s collections committee meets quarterly. Depending on when your information is received, it may take several months to reach a decision on your potential donation.

What happens if my donation is not accepted?

The Museum is unable to accept all offers of donation to the permanent or handling collection. Staff may recommend another museum or archive whose collecting mandate more closely relates to your object.

Please note: If a donation is not accepted and the donor chooses to sell the object(s), Museum staff will not provide evaluations or financial advice.

What happens if my donation has been accepted into the collection?

The Curatorial team will inform you if your object has been accepted into the permanent or handling collection by phone or email. Once we have heard back from you, we will discuss transportation arrangements.

How do I get my object to the museum?

The Curatorial team will work with you to determine a time to receive the donation. It is preferable that the donor brings the object to the museum, but it may be possible for museum staff to arrange a pick-up if necessary.

How is ownership transferred to the museum?

When an offer is accepted, the Museum arranges for you to sign a Gift Agreement. By signing your consent, you transfer your ownership in the object(s) over to the museum. The transfer of ownership states that:

“The above named Donor, being the sole legal and beneficial owner of the object(s) listed below and having the full right and entitlement to dispose of the same, hereby irrevocably and unconditionally donates such object(s) absolutely to The Canadian Canoe Museum, free and clear of all claims, liens and encumbrances of whatsoever nature.”

At the end of each year any donors who have not returned or completed their signed Gift Agreement form are to be contacted again. If necessary, another copy of the Gift Agreement will be sent.

Can a donation be returned to me if I change my mind?

No, once the donation process has been completed, the object(s) becomes the legal property of the Museum and cannot be returned. You may wish to discuss the donation with your family members before contacting the museum.

May I obtain a tax receipt for my donation?

As a registered charity, The Canadian Canoe Museum is able to issue gift-in-kind income tax receipts for the fair market value of an object, in accordance with its own procedures and Canada Revenue Agency regulations. An independent appraiser is needed to assess values greater than $1000. The donor is requested to cover appraisal costs. Appraisal services are not a tax receiptable item.

Please note: The museum is only able to issue a tax receipt for the year that the object physically arrives at the museum.  For example, if your donation was approved to be accepted into the collection in November 2017 but is not delivered to the museum until March 2018, you would receive the tax receipt no later than December 2018.

How is “fair market value” determined?

For income tax purposes, fair market value is the amount that something would sell for in an open market, between a willing buyer and a willing seller, who are knowledgeable, informed, prudent and who are acting independently of each other.

It may take several months or longer to determine the fair market value, depending on the nature of the object(s) and the availability of appraisers with the required expertise.

Note: Income tax legislation does not permit you to include taxes or customs duties as part of the value.

To learn more about the tax implications of a donation or sale, it is recommended you consult your financial advisor or Revenue Canada.

What happens to my donation?

Curatorial staff will process your donation and create a catalogue record based on the information we receive. This will allow access to information about the object and limit physical handling. Supports may be made for fragile items, and the object will be placed into our long-term storage facility.

What recognition do donors receive?

Once an object has been acquired for the collection it becomes the property of The Canadian Canoe Museum. The Museum may store, display or interpret the object according to established Museum practices.

Donor names are listed each year in The Canadian Canoe Museum’s Annual Report. When artifacts are exhibited, the name(s) of donors are recognized in accordance with Museum policies and practices and as specified in the signed Gift Agreement. A donor can choose to remain anonymous.

How will my donation be accessed and used?

Objects in the collection may be accessed through the Museum’s collections database by making a request to curatorial staff. Objects may be considered when planning temporary, travelling or permanent exhibits, or may be loaned to other public institutions for special exhibitions.

Will my donation be placed on permanent display in the Museum’s galleries?

It is not possible to place all of the Museum’s collection out on display. Like most museums, The Canadian Canoe Museum is only able to show a small percentage of its collection at any given time. While objects are often acquired for use in future exhibitions, there are a number of other reasons that an object might be acquired, such as rarity, historical significance and research purposes. As such, the Museum cannot guarantee that the object(s) will be displayed or for how long.

When are artifacts removed from the collection and what happens to them?

Museums periodically assess their collections and may decide to remove (deaccession) artefacts for a range of reasons, including but not limited to:

  • Scope:does the object no longer fall within the scope of collections as defined by the Museum Collections Policy?
  • Stewardship: Is the Museum no longer able to provide proper care for the object?
  • Condition: Has the object deteriorated beyond the point of usefulness?
  • Duplication: Are there duplicate objects in the collection that are in better condition or are better representations of the type?
  • Authenticity: Is the object a poor representation of its type or is its documentation lacking (making it valueless for the purposes of scholarship or education)?

Objects recommended for deaccession by the Curator must be approved by both the Museum’s Collections Committee and also its Board of Trustees. Objects approved for deaccessioning are first offered to other Canadian museums. If other museums do not express interest, the objects are disposed of in accordance with standard, accepted museum practices.

Information for United States Residents

Potential donors residing in the US, may be able to make use of a tax receipt issued for donations to Canadian institutions. IRS Publication 526 Charitable Contributions provides a starting point to determine if you may be able to benefit from a donation and tax receipt. This publication states:

You may be able to deduct contributions to certain Canadian charitable organizations covered under an income tax treaty with Canada. To deduct your contribution to a Canadian charity, you generally must have income from sources in Canada. See Publication 597, Information on the United States-Canada Income Tax Treaty, for information on how to figure your deduction.

For further information consult: