A Guide to Donating Artifacts

The Canadian Canoe Museum appreciates your interest in helping to preserve Canada's canoeing heritage and also to build its collections through donation.

The Museum is a private, not-for-profit organization. It provides stewardship for a remarkable collection of watercraft that is national and international in scope. It is also the largest collection of its kind in the world. In keeping with its mission and core values, the Museum collects objects and other materials. These items further an understanding and the interpretation of the rich cultural and technical heritage associated with the canoe, kayak and paddled watercraft. Objects collected by this museum should fall within this scope, though not all objects that fall within this scope will be collected. Items that fall outside this scope should not be collected.

For more information, email curator@canoemuseum.ca or call 705-748-9153 x207.

The following questions and answers will help give you an overview of the process of donating objects.

What happens when I offer something to the Museum?

When you contact The Canadian Canoe Museum to explore donating an object(s) to its collection, several standard museum procedures will take place to ensure an appropriate outcome.

You will be provided with a questionnaire in order to better understand the object(s) in question. You will be asked about:

  • recent photographs
  • the object’s known history and provenance (who owned it or other historical associations of special interest)
  • its condition
  • known past restoration efforts or modifications
  • manufacturer’s marks
  • model or serial number
  • details of use
  • dimensions
  • other details as appropriate

It is not essential that all fields are complete, but this certainly informs and accelerates the process.

The Museum’s curatorial staff will then compare the object with the Museum’s current holdings and its collections’ planning. Once thoroughly reviewed, objects suitable for consideration will be presented to the Museum’s Collections Committee for a determination.

What is the difference between a donation, a donation with a tax receipt, and a sale?

Donation: You make an outright donation of the object(s) to the Museum. You transfer ownership of the object without condition to The Canadian Canoe Museum, without receiving any payment or other benefit.

Donation with a tax receipt: Under the Income Tax Act, The Canadian Canoe Museum may issue you a receipt for income tax purposes for the fair market value of the object you have donated. The Museum’s Curator may appraise an object if its value is perceived to be well below $1,000. For objects close to or above $1,000 in value, Revenue Canada requires that a third-party evaluation be performed by an accredited appraiser and a written appraisal provided. Fees for this service are borne by the donor. Museum staff can recommend accredited professionals. Appraisals need only be performed after an object has been accepted by the Museum’s Collections Committee.

Sale: Except in unusual circumstances, The Canadian Canoe Museum does not purchase objects for its collection and relies upon their donation.

How is "fair market value" determined?

For income tax purposes, fair market value is the amount that something would sell for in an open market, between a willing buyer and a willing seller, who are both knowledgeable, informed, prudent and who are acting independently of each other.

It may take a few weeks to several months or longer to determine the fair market value, depending on the nature of the object(s) and the availability of appraisers with the required expertise.

Note: Income tax legislation does not permit you to include taxes or customs duties as part of the value.

To learn more about the tax implications of a donation or sale, it is recommended you consult your financial advisor or Revenue Canada.

What is the role of the Collections Committee?

If the Curator concludes that an object should be reviewed for the collection, he or she develops a proposal and makes a recommendation to the Collections Committee. This recommendation must be accepted by the Collections Committee before the object may be added to the Museum’s collection. At this time, the object can be appraised and the Museum may issue a tax receipt.

How is ownership formally transferred to the Museum?

Within the donation process, the transfer of ownership is formalized by a gift agreement, which states that:

“The above named Donor, being the sole legal and beneficial owner of the object(s) listed below and having the full right and entitlement to dispose of the same, hereby irrevocably and unconditionally donates such object(s) absolutely to The Canadian Canoe Museum, free and clear of all claims, liens and encumbrances of whatsoever nature.”

What recognition do donors receive?

Once an object has been acquired for the collection it becomes the property of The Canadian Canoe Museum. The Museum may store, display or interpret the object according to established Museum practices.

Donor names are listed each year in The Canadian Canoe Museum’s Annual Report. When artifacts are exhibited, the name(s) of donors are recognized in accordance with Museum policies and practices and as specified in the signed Gift Agreement. A donor can choose to remain anonymous.

Will the donated object be displayed?

Unfortunately The Canadian Canoe Museum cannot accept conditional donations. While objects are often acquired for use in future exhibitions, there are a number of other reasons that an object might be acquired, such as rarity, historical significance and research purposes. As such, the Museum cannot guarantee that the object(s) will be displayed or for how long.

When are artifacts removed from the collection and what happens to them?

Museums periodically assess their collections and may decide to remove from their collections (deaccession) artifacts for a range of reasons, including but not limited to:

  • Scope:does the object no longer fall within the scope of collections as defined by the Museum Collections Policy?
  • Stewardship: Is the Museum no longer able to provide proper care for the object?
  • Condition: Has the object deteriorated beyond the point of usefulness?
  • Duplication: Are there duplicate objects in the collection that are in better condition or are better representations of the type?
  • Authenticity: Is the object a poor representation of its type or is its documentation lacking (making it valueless for the purposes of scholarship or education)?

Objects recommended for deaccession by the Curator must be approved by both the Museum’s Collections Committee and also its Board of Trustees. Objects approved for deaccessioning are first offered to other Canadian museums. If other museums do not express interest, the objects are disposed of in accordance with standard, accepted museum practices.

Information for United States Residents

Potential donors residing in the US, may be able to make use of a tax receipt issued for donations to Canadian institutions. IRS Publication 526 Charitable Contributions provides a starting point to determine if you may be able to benefit from a donation and tax receipt. This publication states:

You may be able to deduct contributions to certain Canadian charitable organizations covered under an income tax treaty with Canada. To deduct your contribution to a Canadian charity, you generally must have income from sources in Canada. See Publication 597, Information on the United States-Canada Income Tax Treaty, for information on how to figure your deduction.
For further information consult: www.irs.gov/publications/p526/ar02.html#d0e567