There are a number of ways in which you or your company can donate to the San Joaquin County Historical Society and Museum.  You can make a cash donation to the General Fund. You can help build the Society’s Endowment. Or you can give a gift in memory of a friend or loved one.

For more information on these types of donations, please contact Kristina Swanson at Lodi phone number (209) 331-2055, Stockton phone number (209) 953-3460, or

To donate your time and expertise as a volunteer please see the Volunteer page.

Donating Historical Items

The San Joaquin County Historical Society accepts donations of artifacts, photographs, and documents on behalf of the County of San Joaquin . Donations to the collection are accepted based on their relevance to the social, political, agricultural, industrial, technological, economic, and cultural heritage of San Joaquin County from prehistory to the present . See our Mission Statement.

In determining the historical value of a donation to the Museum, the following questions will be considered:

  • Was the object made or used in San Joaquin County ?
  • What is the object's historical significance?
  • Is there documentation (written or oral) on the object?
  • Does the object need conservation work?
  • Does the object duplicate or support the existing collections?
  • What is the object's exhibit potential?
  • What impact would the object have on available storage space?

Prospective donors may contact the Society by email, telephone, writing, or in person with a donation consideration. Whenever possible, prospective donors should make an appointment before bringing the object to the Museum. Potential donations may not be left at the Museum without first speaking to the Collections and Exhibits Manager, Archivist, or Executive Director.

Prospective donors will be asked to fill out a Donor Documentation Worksheet (PDF) for potential donation items. For large objects, the Museum will accept photographs for review or arrange for a site visit to examine objects. As a courtesy to protect our collections, we ask that all potential donations brought to the Museum be free of dirt, debris, and pests. The San Joaquin County Historical Society reserves the right to decline objects if they are inconsistent with our collections needs, duplicative, not in good condition or cannot be preserved, or if they contain hazardous materials.

If the potential donation appears to meet the acceptance criteria, the Collections and Exhibits Manager will present it to the Collections Committee. After examining the object, the committee will recommend to the Board of Trustees to accept the donation; if agreed upon by the Board of Trustees, the object will be formally accepted into the permanent collections. The Collections and Exhibits Manager will notify the donor of the Board's decision; if the object is accepted, a deed of gift form will be sent to the donor to sign and return to the Museum. The deed of gift is a legal document that transfers ownership of the object, and it then becomes part of the San Joaquin County Historical Museum 's collection.

Due to limited display space and environmental factors, the Society cannot guarantee that donated objects will be on display at the Museum. However, staff will make a concerted effort to make donations available for viewing by the donor's family whenever it is possible to do so.

Please note:

  • Objects will NOT be accepted with restrictions attached to their use.
  • Objects will NOT be accepted as long-term loans.
  • San Joaquin County Historical Society and Museum cannot make, arrange for or pay for appraisals.

Persons interested in donating artifacts, photos, or documents should contact Julie Blood, Collections and Exhibits Manager ( ) or Gail Erwin, Archivist ( ) or by calling the Museum at (209) 331-2055.


Staff of the San Joaquin County Historical Society and Museum cannot provide potential donors with monetary appraisals for donations. Appraisals or valuation for purposes of tax deductions are the responsibility of the donor. Museum staff, when asked, will provide the donor with at least two names of qualified appraisers. These referrals in no way reflect the Society's endorsement of an individual or corporate appraiser. The donor may place a value on the object on the deed of gift for tax purposes. The deduction is only good for the year that the deed of gift was signed and only if the Museum has taken physical possession of the donation within that year.

Prospective donors may also find assistance in obtaining a formal, written appraisal of an object by contacting these organizations to locate an appraiser in the area:

American Society of Appraisers
555 Herndon Parkway, Suite 125
Herndon , VA 20170
Phone: 703-478-2228
Fax: 703-742-8471

Appraisers Association of America
386 Park Avenue South, Suite 2000
New York , NY 10016
Phone: 212-889-5404
Fax: 212-889-5503

International Society of Appraisers
Riverview Plaza Office Park
16040 Christensen Road, Suite 102
Seattle, WA 98188-2929
Phone: 206-241-0359
Fax: 206-241-0436