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Donating Objects to our Collection

Lemon-squeezer hat

Lemon-squeezer hat

Belonged to Lieutenant Leonard John Armstrong1982.127, U227.3

We welcome proposals to donate objects that fit our current Collection Development Plan and would enhance our existing collections. For a variety of reasons, however, we do not end up accepting every proposed donation.

When considering a donation, we must take into account existing holdings; the proposed object's relevance to our collection development plans; storage space, and staff resourcing. Occasionally, after careful consideration, we have to decline an offer—especially if we already hold a good example of a particular kind of object as we are unlikely to need duplicates.

In order to donate objects, you must have legal ownership of them—or, if you are not the legal owner, you must have the owner's documented permission to donate on their behalf. Please note that legal ownership is separate from copyright, which will be discussed, if applicable, during the donation process, in accordance with the New Zealand Copyright Act 1994.

Importantly, we cannot accept unsolicited donations. Instead of bringing or sending items directly to the Museum, please first make an enquiry using the form below. Please only send objects to us once instructed to do so; objects sent without prior consultation may be disposed of. Given the large number of donation proposals we receive each year, there can be delays in the assessment and approval processes, but we do aim to deal with all proposals in as timely a manner as possible.

Download offer form

  • Complete this form on your computer and email it to enquiry@aucklandmuseum.com, ideally along with images of the object(s). We will endeavour to contact you as soon as possible. Please note that the Museum cannot accept objects until they have been assessed and approved, which can take up to three months. Please only send objects to us once instructed to do so.
  • Object offer form
  • Complete this form on your computer and email it to enquiry@aucklandmuseum.com, ideally along with images of the object(s). We will endeavour to contact you as soon as possible. Please note that the Museum cannot accept objects until they have been assessed and approved, which can take up to three months. Please only send objects to us once instructed to do so.
  • Last updated on: 4 May 2021 | File Size: 483 kB

Collecting Areas

Read on for information on our specific collecting areas, and the kinds of objects we collect.

Human History

Auckland Museum protects and cares for nearly 200,000 human history objects in a collection that has been developed and cared for over more than 150 years. The collections cover Māori taonga, Pacific objects, military and social history, applied arts and design, and archaeology.

The focus is predominantly on Auckland, however the collections also contain significant materials from the rest of New Zealand and the Pacific, and around the world. We welcome donations which fit within our collecting plans and enhance our existing collections.

Natural Sciences

Auckland Museum’s natural sciences collections date back to the earliest days of the Museum and now contain almost 1.5. million specimens. The collections cover botany, entomology, geology, land vertebrates, marine life, and palaeontology. There is a focus on northern New Zealand, but they also contain material from the rest of the country, the south-west Pacific and other parts of the world.

We welcome donations which fit within our collecting plans. Proposals to donate natural science specimens must come with robust data, such as where and when the specimen was collected, and by whom. We cannot consider specimens lacking such data.

Documentary Heritage

Our Documentary Heritage collections include manuscripts, ephemera, maps, charts and plans, newspapers and periodicals, rare and contemporary books and pamphlets, photographs, and works of art in the form of paintings, bookplates, and sketches and drawings. We welcome donations that fit our collecting plans and enhance existing collections.

Documentary Heritage material we are interested in collecting:

  • Original photographs (prints, albums, negatives, slides, cased and all other formats from daguerreotypes to born digital). As one of the largest photography collections in New Zealand we collect the history of photography, most genres of photography from photojournalism to nature, military history and regional history through photographs.

  • Original artworks (paintings, drawings, bookplates) that relate to Tāmaki Makaurau's social history and natural history, or people and places. We collect for content/context and not artistic merit.

  • Original/unique manuscripts (unpublished documentation, produced by individuals, groups, organisations - e.g. letters, diaries, company records etc), ephemera (mass or hand produced - e.g. posters, flyers, protest placards, tickets etc.) and oral histories related to Tāmaki Makaurau's changing and diverse communities, with particular focus on individuals, groups, stories and events that illustrate the city’s social, cultural, economic and military past and present

  • Newspapers published in Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands

  • Books, newsletters, magazines and other serials and publications reflecting the changing and diverse communities of Tāmaki Makaurau

  • Local & provincial maps and plans depicting land ownership and subdivision

  • Military information, images and documents relating to those who served for Aotearoa New Zealand in international conflicts. Digitised copies may be uploaded directly into the relevant Online Cenotaph record.

  • Modern material in te reo Māori and Pacific languages

Documentary Heritage material we are generally not collecting at present:

  • Modern copies of original photographs; motion picture film; commercially produced films or television series

  • Reference books; old newspapers; text books; works published outside Aotearoa New Zealand

  • Newspapers and magazines published outside Aotearoa New Zealand or the Pacific Islands

  • Further copies of published material already held in our collections or those which are already available online

  • Marine charts

  • Copies of original manuscript material, unless it is the only copy of significant/rare material that exists and is relevant to our collections

  • Items in poor condition—unless it is exceptionally rare and relevant to our collections

Legacies and financial donations

Interested in making a financial donation? Donate now or leave a gift to Auckland Museum in your Will.