CURRENT HOURS: Open Wednesday-Saturday, 9am-4pm

Donate to the Museum Collections

We are grateful to all who donate items (tangible property) to Living History Farms. All gifts of tangible property must be reviewed before Living History Farms can accept them. Please do not drop any potential item donations at the museum without going through the review process.

We accept the following types of donations:

  • Items for our Collections – This includes artifacts from the time periods we interpret (1700, 1850, 1876, and 1900), along with textiles and quilts into the 1900s. Please review our prospective donation process below.
  • Computers & Other Technology Equipment – Please contact Amy Day at (515)278-5286 ext 117 or at to see if your item(s) would be needed.
  • Office Supplies – Please contact Barbara Hanson at (515)278-5286 ext 125 or to see if your item(s) would be needed.


Historic Quilt ShowDonating Historical Artifacts

Living History Farms is grateful to all who donate historical artifacts to our museum collections. We continuously look for items to add to our programs, and welcome artifacts that can help us to interpret the history of farming and rural life in the time periods we currently present at our historical sites.

What we collect

Living History Farms’ collection includes approximately 19,000 objects dating from the late 1700s through the mid-1900s. Our collections relate primarily to agricultural and domestic life, followed by transportation and professional trades, such as: printmaking, blacksmithing, tinsmithing, coopering, woodworking and carpentry, medicine, law, millinery, among others. The museum collects farming equipment, tools of various types, carriages and wagons; musical instruments, furniture, rugs, lighting devices, heating equipment; household objects and textiles, clothing and accessories; objects related to food preparation, preservation, and serving; in addition to prints, early photography, and paintings documenting life in the American Midwest.

Living History Farms utilizes artifacts in its museum collections for public exhibitions and demonstrations. Museum staff appropriately handle artifacts when demonstrating historic processes with museum guests, as designated by institutional collections policy guidelines. Some of the artifacts in the collection will be physically touched by our visitors. If you wish to donate items to our collections, please be aware of these uses and indicate your understanding of these potential handling demonstrations on the Prospective Incoming Donation form.

Please do not drop off objects without prior discussion with our museum collections department. Living History Farms’ strict collections policy does not allow us to take objects that are left or abandoned. Unsolicited objects and other materials will not be accepted.

How to donate

All prospective donations to the museum collections are subject to review and approval of the Living History Farms museum collections committee. The museum judiciously and selectively incorporates objects in the collections to fulfill LHF’s mission and educational programs. Please allow two weeks for review and approval of prospective donations.

To receive a Prospective Incoming Donation form and to have your item(s) considered for donation to Living History Farms’ museum collections, or for questions, please contact our Collections Department by email at or by phone at (515)278-5286 Ext. 167.

Museums are prohibited to provide appraisals by Federal Law. Therefore it will be incumbent upon the donor to provide a reasonable estimated value for the intended donation.

Monetary donations to museum collections

Living History Farms museum collections department is grateful for financial support that will help to acquire needed objects and to keep providing preservation care of the collections. Those who have interest in supporting these activities may contact our Vice President of Development by email at or by phone at 515-278-5286 Ext. 120.