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Donate items

The Historical Society has relied on the kindness of donors since it was founded in 1875. This is especially true of our collections.

If you have something you'd like to donate, we ask you to take a minute to read our mission statement to help understand our collecting focus:

The mission of the Kansas Historical Society is to identify, collect, preserve, interpret, and disseminate materials and information pertaining to Kansas history in order to assist the public in understanding and appreciating their Kansas heritage and how it relates to their lives.

We primarily are interested in items associated with the history of Kansas in particular or the Great Plains in general. There are some exceptions to this rule, including genealogies and vital records from other states. We urge you to contact us because your generous gift may fill a gap in our collections.

Here are some of the things we collect:

  • Archeological materials*
  • Books and periodicals
  • Man-made objects of all kinds
  • Personal papers (unpublished letters, diaries, etc.)
  • Maps and architectural drawings
  • Photographs and audiovisual materials
  • Records from Kansas state government

* Archeological materials must come from a recorded site in Kansas, or be unusual or unique items from the Central Plains.

Have something really special, but want to keep it for yourself? We can copy photographs, maps, and manuscripts to make their content available to researchers (subject to possible copyright restrictions). You get to keep the original.

To make an offer of donation

If you have a Kansas or Great Plains item you think is appropriate for our collections, please contact one of the following:

Three-dimensional objects, please contact the museum staff at KansasMuseum@kshs.org or call 785-272-8681, ext. 427.

Archeological and American Indian objects, please contact Chris Garst, cgarst@kshs.org, or call 785-272-8681, ext. 151.

Printed and published materials, please contact Margaret Knecht, mknecht@kshs.org or call 785-272-8681, ext. 272.

Photographs, personal letters, diaries, business records, maps, architectural drawings, please contact Nancy Sherbert, nsherbert@kshs.org or call 785-272-8681, ext. 303,

If you prefer to write, please address your letter to:
Kansas Historical Society
6425 S.W. Sixth Ave.
Topeka, Kansas 66615

TTY 785-272-8683

Staff will evaluate all items offered to the Historical Society. The evaluation process may take several weeks. The more information you provide us on its history, the better. If we decide to add it to our collections, we will send you a gift agreement to sign and return; this transfers ownership of the item to the Kansas Historical Society.

Appraisals

Sorry, but we are unable to provide appraisals. The Internal Revenue Service questions appraisals prepared by libraries and museums because of potential conflict of interest. It is in your best interest to seek an objective appraisal of your gift. Please see our Appraisal Policy.