Donations / Collections policy

  1. What Is a Collections Policy And Why Should We Have One?
    • Philosophy of collecting for a regional museum. A museum should not be considered a community attic…
    • As an IRS 501-c3 non-profit educational museum, the Museum has a “fiduciary responsibility” (legal responsibility) for its artifacts. This means (among other things) that we must adequately document (with policies, forms, and records) and care for our collections under penalty of law.
    • Acceptance of an artifact means that the museum will accrue both the cost and responsibility of cataloging, storing, exhibiting, conserving, and preserving that object.
    • Museums must have a mission statement. This helps spell out what a museum wants and doesn’t want and helps to set some limits for its collection by area, time, type, etc. Setting these limits saves the museum time, space, money, and other resources.
    • There are times when we simply must decline the offer of an object and our mission statement and collections policy helps us to determine those times.
  2. Most Common Situations to Decline a Donation
    • Object is out of the museum’s scope (wrong subject, geographic area, etc.). We may provide the prospective donor with a list of alternative museums which might be interested.
    • Duplicate(s) is/are already in the collections. We may provide the prospective donor with a list of museums which might be interested.
    • Poor condition. We must be very wary of accepting items that may tax space and conservation resources. In some cases, we may seek funding for conservation before accepting the gift.
    • Large size. We must be wary of accepting items that may tax our limited storage and display space.
    • “Conditional gift” and “Permanent loans”. The Effingham County and National Road Museum shall avoid objects donated with “conditions” (although exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis). We cannot accept an artifact with the condition, “This item must always be on display.” Long-term loans may be accepted after careful consideration and a unanimous vote of the collections committee
  3. Collections Scope

    The scope of the Effingham County Cultural Center and Museum Association, Inc. museum’s collections is ultimately dictated by our mission statement.

    • Specific Areas of Collections
      • Effingham County history and artifacts
      • National Road history and artifacts
      • Representative objects, which illustrate the history of both subject areas
    • Objects in each specific “Area of Collections” may fall into one of three categories:
      • Primary Exhibit Category. These objects, the best quality and condition available, relate directly to one or more of the museum's areas of collections and are primarily used for exhibitions. They are beneficial to the Museum's mission statement.
      • Secondary Exhibit Category. These objects are often fine objects, but may be duplicative or are in lesser condition. They have a very definite teaching quality and are used for exhibitions, comparative study, for special “hands-on” programs, or can be loaned to other museums or institutions.
      • Expendable Category. These items are acceptable to the extent that they may be utilized to acquire artifacts or other permanent materials to fill out its permanent or secondary collections.
      • Objects will be evaluated as to their relevance in any or all of the above stated “Areas of Collection”, and/or their anticipated classification in either “Primary”, “Secondary”, or “Expendable” category.
  4. Additional Criteria for Acceptance or Rejection
    • Size of collection. Effingham County Cultural Center and Museum Association, Inc. permanent collections should not exceed areasonable and practical number of similarly designed, constructed, or used objects, originating from a specific group or user, except when those objects are specifically designated for “Secondary” or “Expendable Collections.”
    • Size of object. Any object requiring a storage or display area larger than 8 cubic feet must be reviewed and accepted by a majority vote of the Association Board of Directors.
    • Condition of object. All objects entering the Museum must be in a condition that will not cause injury or damage to other objects in the collections, storage or display facilities, or individuals working at or visiting the museum.
    • Donor’s restrictions, conditions or encumbrances. Generally all objects entering the Museum collections shall be without any restrictions, conditions, or encumbrances. The Museum reserves the right to use all gifts in the manner which best serves the museum and the museum’s mission statement. Restrictions, conditions, or encumbrances may be accepted by a majority vote of the Museum Board of Directors.
  5. Accession Procedures
    • New objects- accession procedure- The Museum Curator or any Museum Board Member may temporarily accept objects for “accession consideration”, provided they fill out and have signed by a prospective donor a temporary receipt form notifying them of the “Collections Procedure”. The accepting Museum individual must also notify the Curator and/or the “Accessions Committee” of the donation.
    • Objects temporarily accepted for “accession consideration”, shall not be considered part of the “permanent” collections of the Museum until they meet the requirements set forth in the “Collections Policy” and/or they gain the majority approval of the Museum Board of Directors. The owners of the objects which fail to gain acceptance will be notified, and they have the option of removing the item(s) in 30 days of that notification. Failure of the owner to do so provides the Museum the right to dispose of those objects in any manner it sees fit.
    • The Curator shall head an “Accessions Committee” whose responsibilities will include accepting and/or rejecting a proposed donation. The Curator and the Museum Board of Directors shall have joint authority on appointments to the Accessions Committee.
    • Provided the donation meets the requirements set forth in the “Collections Policy”, a simple majority vote by the Curator and the Accessions Committee, accepts an object into the “permanent” collections of the Museum.
    • In special cases, when the object fails to meet one or more of the standards set forth in the “Collections Policy”, then it may be accepted by a majority vote of the Museum Board of Directors. The Board of Directors reserves the right to temporarily suspend the “Collection Policy” by a majority vote in special cases.
    • The Curator and the Accessions Committee shall make a report to the Museum Board of Directors listing the objects proposed for accession, those accepted and rejected, and those requiring a decision by the full Board of Directors.
    • The Curator and the Museum Board of Directors shall have joint authority on establishment, interpretation, and modification of the Museum’s “Collections Policy”.
  6. Cataloging Procedure

    The Curator and/or any other designated, trained, member shall catalog all newly accessed objects in accordance with specific catalog procedures listed in the “Cataloging Procedure” addendum to this policy.

  7. Conservation - Care and Handling

    Preservation of the “collections” (artifacts, photographs, archive materials, ephemera, and/or general history), is part of the Museum’s mission statement, and, as such, we will strive to meet professional standards regarding handling, storage, and displaying. Any cleaning, repair, or artifact conservation must be done under the direction and/or with the approval of the Curator and the Museum Board of Directors and in keeping with professionally accepted standards.

  8. Public Access to Collections

    The Museum must maintain a secure environment to protect the collections, however every attempt will be made to allow the public “special access” to the collections not currently on display. The Curator, or his/her designated representative, must approve and supervise all requests for special access. When requested, the Museum will allow access to the Museum’s collections. All other requests will be granted on a case-by-case basis and for bonified research purposes only, and the Museum reserves the rights to charge a “service fee”.

    If you wish to potentially donate artifacts according to these guidelines, please contact the Effingham County Cultural Center and Museum Association, Inc.

Hours & Location

100 E. Jefferson Ave.,
Effingham, IL 62401

Daytime Hours:
(January-February)- By appointment only and some special evening hours, TBA
Phone: 217.540.8655 to leave a message

(March through December)
Tuesday and Saturday 10 a.m-2 p.m.

Evening Hours:
6:00-7:00 p.m. on night of lecture series, November-March
Other times by appointment: Call (217)540-8655 to leave a message

ECCCMA Meeting Schedule

Board Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the court-house first floor courtroom. For information contact Delaine Donaldson, President at: delainedonaldson@mchsi.com.

General Membership Meetings are held once a month of the second Tuesday of the month at 6:00 p.m. at the court-house first floor courtroom.

MISSON STATEMENT
Our MISSION is to establish, maintain, and operate a museum for the general public, and to collect, research, care for, and interpret materials and artifacts of cultural
and historical interest to the residents of, and visitors to, Effingham County, Illinois.

VISION STATEMENT
Our VISION is that the 1872 Effingham County Courthouse remains as an architectural gem that instills a sense of community pride and provides a venue to
educate and showcase the history, art, and transportation of Effingham County.

Get Involved

On November 11, 2012, the Museum opened its doors to the public. Currently there are exhibits only on the first floor, but work is taking place on the second floor to create more exhibit space and more room for lectures and other types of public gatherings.

Much work needs to be done. Can we count on your help?