Donate items


Donate items

We are actively collecting objects, costume (clothing), personal papers, corporate archives, original photographs, original blueprints, and other items that directly relate to helping us develop a better understanding of the historical narrative of Winnetka and its residents.  If you have an item(s) you would like to donate, please contact the curator by calling the museum at 847-446-0001 or by email


Donations FAQ

Can I mail or drop off a donation?

The WHS Museum cannot accept unsolicited donations through the mail or in person without any communication from the Museum staff, whether that be in person, by phone, or by email.  We do not accept anonymous drop-off donations or abandoned property due to the provisions in the Museum Disposition of Property Act, which you can find details of here:  The law places undue responsibility on institutions that accept abandoned property that are both a drain on resources and space that could be otherwise dedicated to artifacts the museum legally owns.

If I donate artifacts or documents to the Winnetka Historical Society, will they be returned to me at my request?

The Museum cannot return accessioned collection materials to the donor.  Once the Winnetka Historical Society accepts your donation for the collection, you will be asked to sign a Deed of Gift, which legally transfers permanent ownership of the materials to the Museum.

Can artifacts and documents be removed from the Winnetka Historical Society Museum collection?

The Museum may, with approval from the Board of Directors, remove objects and documents from the collection through a process called deaccessioning.  Artifacts or documents that are damaged beyond repair, have a condition that puts other parts of the collection at risk, are duplicative of other items in the collection, or are outside the scope of the collection may be considered for deaccessioning.  Deaccessioned material may be donated to another museum or cultural or educational organization, destroyed, or sold.  Any proceeds from the sale of deaccessioned material are placed in a restricted collections maintenance and preservation fund.

How do researchers access artifacts and documents in the collection?

The Museum makes newspapers, house files, reference collection materials, and reference books in its collection available to the public for research during open hours in the Research Room at 411 Linden.

Access to other archival collections, photograph collections, artifacts, including architectural drawings, paintings, sculpture, works-on-paper, costumes, textiles, and household and industrial objects  is available to community members, students, and researchers by appointment only.

Does the Winnetka Historical Society Museum accept long-term loans?

The Museum does not accept long-term loans. WHS does accept loan materials on a short-term basis in conjunction with exhibitions and other programs, however, the WHS commits its limited resources to the storage and preservation of materials in the permanent collection.