This brief guide to the Museum of Anthropology’s acquisitions process is intended to give potential donors information that will help them make decisions about the future of their collections.

Please note: The staff’s task is to ensure that the Museum of Anthropology is the right place for the object(s) in question. The museum’s internal process is a carefully considered one and can take more time than most people expect – anywhere from two to 12 months, and occasionally longer.



Donation: The giving of one or more objects to the Museum.

All donors must be the legal and rightful owners of said objects. The donation form includes the phrase, “I hereby donate said property in whole to the University of Missouri Museum of Anthropology with no reservations, restraints or limiting conditions of any kind whatsoever.”

Bequest: The bequeathing of one or more objects to the Museum as described in the owner’s last will and testament.  Museum staff can express interest in the object(s) at the time of the making of the will but always with the proviso that the object(s) will be subjected to the same acquisition process that applies to all donations (see below).

Transfer: The transfer of one or more objects from another institution.


Initial contact may be made by calling or emailing our office. A preliminary discussion will determine whether or not the material offered is of interest to the Museum or may be better suited to another institution.  

For any artifact or object to be considered for donation, the potential donor must fill out a Donor Questionnaire. This must be completed and submitted with the donation request.  Forms are specific for archaeological material (e.g. excavated collections, stone points, prehistoric objects) and ethnographic objects (textiles, tools, historic objects).  The forms may be downloaded as either a PDF or MS Word docx. They may be submitted by email, mail, or in person.

The proposed donation is put on the agenda of the next Acquisitions Committee meeting which generally occur once a month.  All decisions are by consensus and ratified by the Director. If the committee is working from photographs, the donor may be requested to bring in the object(s) for examination prior to final acceptance.  If the donation is accepted, the donor will be asked to complete a donation form that legally transfers ownership to the Museum.  The date of that legal transfer is considered to be the donation date. 

Personal tax opportunities should be clarified with a certified accountant or with the Internal Revenue Service (see the “Gifts and Income Tax” section of the IRS website). Appraisal information may be obtained by contacting a licensed appraiser.  The Museum staff does not do appraisals and does not have recommended appraisers. By publicly recognizing donors, we believe we will motivate others to join their peers in supporting the museum. However, if a donor wishes to remain anonymous, we will honor that request to the extent allowed by law. MU's Donor Bill of Rights outlines our commitment to confidentiality and the importance of the trust our donors place in us.

To return a questionnaire by mail, address to: Museum of Anthropology, Attn: Acquistions Committee, Mizzou North, Rm 2002, 115 Business Loop 70 W, Columbia, MO, 65211.


For additional questions or enquiries regarding the possible donation of objects to the Museum call: 573-882-3573 or email: