Donating to the MNHC Museum and Education Collections

Thank you for your interest in donating to the Montana Natural History Center’s collection! Please review the following information and complete the Online Collection Donation Form at the bottom of this page.

The mission of the Montana Natural History Center is to promote and cultivate the appreciation, understanding, and stewardship of nature through education. 

The Montana Natural History Center acquires specimens, objects, and archival materials for its collections that fall within our mission as an educational and interpretive natural history institution. Donation acceptance depends on the limits of internal feasibility to maintain responsible collection growth, health and safety concerns, and the material’s relevance to Montana’s natural history. 

Staff will not accept objects, specimens, or other collection materials left at the museum without prior approval from the Collections Manager. Any materials left at MNHC without prior approval or information may be treated as abandoned property and are subject to disposal.

MNHC cannot accept specimens or objects unless they were legally and ethically acquired. All collection donations require appropriate permits or documentation confirming the material(s) were legally obtained. If older or inherited materials lack documentation please include in the donation form the nature and source of the material(s), and the reason for a lack of documentation. The Collections Manager will work with the appropriate state and federal agencies to determine the legality of acquiring said materials of unknown provenance. 

MNHC will not provide appraisals for donated materials. Museums are legally and ethically prohibited from conducting monetary appraisals of donated collection items. Donors must utilize an accredited appraiser’s services to determine the monetary value of a donation. 

Note: Salvage specimens will not be accepted at this time. Please contact the University of Montana Philip L. Wright Zoological Museum for salvage inquiries. 

Collection and program staff may be able to assist with object or specimen identification if time and expertise allow. If you have a natural history object or specimen in need of identification please submit an Online Identification Request Form.  

Caution: Persons handling animal materials should be aware of potential health hazards. Objects and specimens prepared pre-1990 likely contain hazardous materials such as arsenic or DDT. Arsenic (production in the U.S. ended in 1985) and DDT (banned in the U.S. in 1972) were common pesticides found in taxidermy and objects containing animal materials. Caution is also recommended when handling other dead animal materials to help prevent chances of disease transmission. Nitrile gloves and masks are recommended when working with dead animals and/or potentially contaminated materials. Also, be sure to wash your hands before and after handling. 

If you have questions about the donation process, please contact the Collections Manager, Alyssa Cornell, at 406.327.0405 or acornell@montananaturalist.org. We appreciate your support and interest in donating to our collection.


Click here to make a monetary donation to the Montana Natural History Center.


MNHC Collection Donation Form

MNHC Collection Donation Form

The donation review process will evaluate if an object, specimen, etc. should be placed in our permanent or educational collections. We also examine the material’s connection to Montana or related regions and its relevance to Montana natural history.

Donor Name
Donor Name
First
Last
Address
Address
City
State/Province
Zip/Postal
What material type(s) are you interested in donating? (Please select all that apply.)

Maximum file size: 52.43MB

General condition of item(s)
Please provide any details regarding the history of the material(s). This includes when the material was made or found, how it was prepared or produced, who prepared or made it, any known uses of the material, and any other information relevant to the material’s history.
Did you personally collect, purchase, or make the material(s)?
Please include name and contact information of original collector/purchaser. If relevant, please list all other known owners of the material(s).
Do you have permits or relevant ownership documentation for the material(s)?

Maximum file size: 52.43MB