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How to Donate a Musical Instrument
or Archival Material to the NMM

1. Contact the NMM
2. The NMM Staff Will Decide Whether or Not to Accept the Gift
3. Obtain a Third Party Appraisal
4. What Happens When the Gift is Accepted
5. NMM's Accessions Policy


1. Contact the NMM

Persons wishing to donate objects and/or archival materials to the NMM should submit a letter of intent to the NMM at the address listed on the contact page. This letter should include a description of the instrument(s) or archival material (including any specific details that may apply such as maker's/manufacturers' names, city of manufacture, model numbers, serial numbers, condition, quantity, and so on) as well as photographs. A description of the previous use and ownership (if known) of the instrument(s) and/or archival materials is also requested. The NMM staff requests that potential donors submit this information and wait for confirmation before shipping or bringing items in for possible donation.

2. The NMM Staff Will Decide Whether or Not to Accept the Gift

Based on the information contained in the donor's letter, the NMM staff will make a preliminary assessment of the gift's relevance to the NMM's mission and contact the donor with further instructions. The NMM reserves the right to accept or refuse donations upon actual receipt and examination of the item(s).

3. Obtain a Third Party Appraisal

National Music Museum is a 501(c)3 charitable cultural and educational organization, and all non-cash donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. Upon receipt of a non-cash gift, the NMM will issue a gift acknowledgement form to be signed by the donor, but cannot issue a formal appraisal suitable for IRS purposes. Potential donors should obtain a third-party appraisal of items to be gifted to the NMM, prior to their donation. For further details concerning the tax laws governing the donation of property, potential donors should consult the IRS website and/or publications 561 ("Determining the Value of Donated Property") and 526 ("Charitable Contributions").

4. When the Gift is Accepted

Upon the receipt, final acceptance, and cataloging of donated items, the NMM will issue the donor two copies of a Gift Acknowledgement Form, one copy of which is to be signed and returned to the NMM. The second copy should be retained by the donor as proof of the donation.

Below is an example of how a typical gift to the NMM is recognized in NMM checklists, labels, and other printed materials.

NMM 2673. Square piano by William Knabe and Co., Baltimore, 1891

NMM 2673. Square piano by William Knabe and Co., Baltimore, 1891. Gift of Max Siler Wehrly, Arlington, Virginia, 1980, in memory of his mother, Maude Siler Wehrly (1877-1955).

NMM's Accessions Policy

In order to maintain the integrity of the NMM's collections and archives, the following guidelines have been established for the acquisition of musical instruments and archival materials for the NMM.

  1. Objects shall not be accepted or otherwise acquired for the NMM's collections unless the following conditions are met:

  2. the objects are relevant to and consistent with the purposes and activities of the NMM;

  3. the NMM can provide for the storage, protection, and preservation of the objects under conditions that insure their availability for NMM purposes and in keeping with professionally accepted standards;

  4. it is intended that the objects shall have permanency in the collections as long as they retain their physical integrity, their identity, and their authenticity, and as long as they remain useful for the purposes of the NMM; and,

  5. there is reasonable assurance that the objects have not been exported from their country of origin in violation of that country's laws or of the ethical guidelines defined by the United Nations treaty of 1972 or collected in violation of federal or state antiquity laws.

  6. Title to all objects acquired for the collections should be obtained free and clear without restrictions as to use or future disposition. If objects are accepted with restrictions or limitations; however, the conditions should be stated clearly in an instrument of conveyance, should be made part of the accession records for the objects, and should be strictly observed by the NMM. Gifts that would impose any present or future legal obligations upon the state or its administrative agencies shall not be accepted, received, or administered until the attorney general certifies they are free of such obligations.

  7. A legal instrument of conveyance setting forth an adequate description of the objects involved and the precise conditions of transfer, should accompany all gifts and purchases and should be kept on file at the NMM. In all cases, this document must be signed by the seller or donor and by an agent of the NMM's Board of Trustees.

  8. Records of accession should be made and retained for all objects acquired for the collections.

National Music Museum
The University of South Dakota
414 East Clark Street
Vermillion, SD   57069

©National Music Museum, 1998-2014
Most recent update:   March 1, 2014

The University of South Dakota
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