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History FAQ

We answer common questions you may have regarding museum collection items and donations.

How can I get an image of a museum object?

Contact the Ohio History Connection’s Digital Services department at images@ohiohistory.org or 614.297.2530. Be sure to include the catalog number of the object that interests you. There may be costs and fees associated with your request that vary with intended use.

Can I arrange to see an object from the museum collections if it is in storage?

In most cases, yes you can. Please contact the History Services department at collections@ohiohistory.org or 614.297.2535. There are limitations based upon the condition and size of the object of interest. Additionally, many objects are on display at Ohio History Connection sites.

Can I take my own photographs of museum objects?

Yes, you can take photographs of objects on display for personal use. If you make an appointment to see a museum object in storage, you are also allowed to take photographs. There may be costs and fees associated with your photography request that vary with intended use.

Can Ohio History Connection staff tell me how much an object is worth?

For ethical and professional reasons, Ohio History Connection staff cannot provide monetary values of historic materials. To find an appraiser, you can consult the membership directories of the American Society of Appraisers, International Society of Appraisers or Appraisers Association of America.

Where can I get information or assistance to preserve objects?

A great deal of credible information about the care of historic materials is available on the web. See our Preservation Resources page for links to our favorite online materials. 

If you need further assistance, the Ohio History Connection’s history curators can answer questions about the proper storage, handling, and cleaning of historic objects. The history curators are also available to speak to your group or organization about the basics of object care. There may be costs and fees associated with the speaking engagement. Please contact the History Services department at collections@ohiohistory.org or 614.297.2535 to speak to a history curator.

Can objects from the Ohio History Connection’s collections be borrowed for exhibits by other organizations?

Yes! The Ohio History Connection regularly loans objects and documents from our collections to other organizations for exhibit. Please see the Collections & Archives Loan Application Form for more information about placing a loan request.

Are all of the Ohio History Connection’s museum objects on exhibit?

A large portion of the Ohio History Connection’s museum objects are on display at the Ohio History Center in Columbus and at the Ohio History Connection's network of more than 50 museums and historic sites throughout the state. When objects are not on display, they are stored in the Ohio History Connection's highly secure, temperature-controlled collections facility. You can make arrangement to see many of these objects by contacting the History Services department at collections@ohiohistory.org or 614.297.2535. Although the Ohio History Connection would love to have all of our objects on exhibit at all times, it is necessary to rotate items on and off exhibit for their long-term preservation.

What happens to objects that are donated to the Ohio History Connection?

Donated objects are preserved for the education and enjoyment of all Ohioans. They are available for use in exhibits and educational programs at the Ohio History Center in Columbus and at the Ohio History Connection's network of more than 50 museums and historic sites. If they are not on exhibit, they can often be seen by making an appointment with a curator by contacting the History Services department at collections@ohiohistory.org or 614.297.2535. Information describing many of our objects can be found in the Ohio History Connection's Online Collection Catalog, and images of a growing number of objects are accessible through the Ohio Memory digital repository.

Are you accepting new donations of museum objects?

Yes! The history curators at the Ohio History Connection are continually seeking quality objects to add to the museum collections. When evaluating objects for the history collections, the most important question is how the item relates to Ohio history. Curators also consider the physical condition, storage needs, provenance and rarity of the pieces. The Ohio History Connection is interested in donated materials that document Ohio from the settlement of the Northwest Territories to the present. Offers to donate items that illustrate recent history are very welcome. Please see the History homepage for more information on the types of objects the Ohio History Connection collects. If you would like to donate an objects, you may fill out the online contact form or contact the History Services department at collections@ohiohistory.org or 614.297.2535.

Do you ever purchase objects for the museum collections?

The Ohio History Connection has limited funds available to purchase museum objects and occasionally acquires items from auctions and private individuals. If you know of an item that the Ohio History Connection may be interested in purchasing, please contact the History Services department at collections@ohiohistory.org or 614.297.2535.

I have piano that I no longer want, but it has very little connection to Ohio. What can I do with it?

Many organizations in Ohio are willing to take donations of pianos. Try contacting churches, schools or other organizations in your area to see if they are in need of a donated piano.

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