Thank you for your interest in donating an item or collection of items to the International
Museum of Surgical Science. Please fill out the following information to the best of your
knowledge. The more we know about a potential acquisition, the better we can evaluate its
historical value and relevance to our collection goals. We do not accept drop-off donations
without prior approval and unsolicited mailed items are highly discouraged.

What do we collect?

The IMSS collects materials that represent the history of surgery and medicine from the earliest
times to the present day. Materials include medical equipment, advertisements, photographs,
textual documents, books, magazines, periodicals, audiovisual materials, and local ephemera.

How do we decide what to accept? How long will it take to review my donation request?

The Museum’s collections committee assesses donation requests based on the contents of our existing collection, relevance to our mission, quality and conservation potential, artifact size, and motivations for donation. Primary consideration will be given to the Museum’s ability to provide proper care and storage for any object. No item(s) will be considered for acquisition if future care and preservation needs exceed the Museum’s resources. Donations that include financial support for long-term storage and preservation are encouraged. Our collections committee meets annually to evaluate potential acquisitions. If your donation is time-sensitive or you can no longer hold on to an item, please let us know and we can discuss the potential for storage during the evaluation process. 

Does the Museum accept entire collections?

Yes. Collections will be evaluated along the same criteria as individual donations. On rare occasions when it is necessary to donate an entire collection but a handful of items do not meet collections criteria, the entire collection can be considered for acceptance if adequate provisions can be made for the useful disposition of non-accessionable items to other nonprofits, museums, and schools.

Are donations tax deductible?

The International Museum of Surgical Science is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and as such donations are tax deductible, however the Museum is unable to appraise any property, even if it has been donated to our collections as the Internal Revenue Service regards museums as interested parties. If an appraisal is desired, you may contact a professional licensed appraiser in your area. Any appraisals should be completed prior to donation.

When will items go on display?

We cannot promise when or if an item will go on display. Only a small percentage of the Museum’s entire collection is on view at any given time. While not on display, items are cared for in storage, made available to researchers, and used for public programs at the Museum

Can items be sold, exchanged, or loaned to the Museum or returned to donors after donation?

Generally, the IMSS relies upon private donations to source our collection. We prefer not to purchase items for the collection and will only make exchanges if they are with other educational institutions and if our collection is upgraded as a result as determined by our Curator or if necessary by an expert in the field. IMSS cannot return accessioned materials to the donor. When the Deed of Gift is signed, ownership of the materials is legally transferred to the Museum. The Museum does not accept donations with commercial or corporate conditions attached. Due to insurance and liability issues as well as space constraints, the Museum does not accept long-term loans. Short-term loans are only accepted when requested for a specific exhibit or program.

I’m not sure if my donation is appropriate. Should I still fill out the form?

Even if you are unsure, the artifact donation form is a great way to get in contact with us and start the conversation.

Who can I contact with questions about the Museum’s collection?

Please reach out to with any questions or concerns about the IMSS collection. Access to artifacts, including medical equipment, artwork, and books in the Thorek Rare Book & Manuscript Collection, is available by appointment only

Donor Information

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Step 1 of 2
Date of Donation Request:

Donation Information

Description of Artifact(s) Please describe each item with as much detail as possible (i.e. physical description, dimensions, history, condition, etc.). You are welcome to attach additional pages to this form if necessary.

Estimated Condition:
Do you own the item fully and have the rights and permissions to donate it to the Museum?
When you donate this object to the museum, are you also transferring full literary rights, property rights, and copyrights?
Are you currently an IMSS member?