Donations to the Collections

Museum and Art Collections

Glenbow Museum collects artifacts and artwork primarily of significance to the northwest quadrant of North America. We build on strengths, fill in gaps and provide a context for areas of strength to consolidate the existing collections. We are extremely judicious about adding to the collection and want to ensure that everything we collect is of high quality and fits within our mandate. However, the museum is interested in objects or works of art which are in good condition and well documented, and which help to tell significant stories about people, and their cultures, lifestyles, and history.

Glenbow has collections pertaining to:

Glenbow's Ethnology collection contains items from indigenous people from around the world. The collection focuses on the Northern Plains, however other strengths include the northwest Coast, the Arctic, and Subarctic regions. It also contains material from select regions of South America, Africa, Oceania, and Asia.

Collecting priorities include building the aspects of the collection which illustrate current issues and concerns of non-Western cultural communities, and material reflecting cultural change reflected through the merging of traditional and western materials, technologies and designs.

To discuss a possible donation please contact:

Community History
Everyday objects reflect how people made a living, how they worshipped and were governed, what they did to relax, how they dressed and ate, and how family mementos help to create a home in a new land. Cultural History collections also include holdings of Alberta pottery, Western Canadian folk studies, northern explorations, numismatics, pressed glass and textiles.

Collecting priorities include globalization of the marketplace, the petroleum business, leisure time pursuits relating to sports and fitness, and the mass media, the environmental movement, ethnic culture and contemporary immigration, and women's history (in traditional and non-traditional roles).

To discuss a possible donation please contact:

Military History
Glenbow's military history collection is international, with a particular depth and richness in European, Asian, and North American firearms and edged weapons. Other areas of strength are the Japanese arms and armour collection and the collection of medals, orders, and decorations associated with Canada.

Collecting priorities include material relating to the Riel Rebellion, the South African (Boer) War, Peacekeeping, and the Northwest Mounted Police.

To discuss a possible donation please contact:

Glenbow's art collection ranges primarily from the 19th century to the present. We acquire works within this general timeline from the northwest quadrant of North America, focusing on the representation of this region and its place in the west. Works from other parts of Canada and North America are welcome as they relate to situating our collection in its broader national and international contexts.

Some of the strengths of Glenbow's art collection include Canadian prints and works on paper, Alberta art, Western Canadian art; contemporary art and single artist collections of W.J. Phillips, Carl Rungius, Sybil Andrews, H.G. Glyde and others.

This is a broad outline of the collections at Glenbow and our collecting priorities. It is recommended that if you have objects or artwork which you feel might fit within the museum's mandate, you contact the curator in the appropriate area. If you are unsure which collection area would be most appropriate contact the Senior Registrar.

Although Glenbow has limited resources to direct toward purchases for the collection, the majority of Glenbow's collections have been donated and we continue to build our collections primarily through donations.

In all instances of objects valued at more than $1,000.00, the fair market value of an acquisition will be determined through an independent appraiser. The appraiser must be acceptable to the museum, and the donor is responsible for the costs of the appraisal.

In most circumstances, it is possible for the donor to realize a tax benefit from a donation to the museum. Donors are encouraged to speak with their accountants regarding this possibility and what the benefit may be. Museum staff can supply basic tax information, however they can not give tax advice or appraise the monetary value of a collection if that value is more than $1,000.00.

To discuss a possible donation please contact:

Archives Collections

The Glenbow Archives acquires primary source materials and makes them available for study by anyone interested in the history and development of southern Alberta. Since the mid-1950s the Archives has assembled almost five kilometres of manuscript collections that document the social, political, cultural, and economic history of this region. The Archives also houses the records of the Glenbow Museum. Each year, thousands of students, scholars, writers, publishers, and donors consult and study these collections.

Glenbow's archivists work closely with donors to identify materials of research interest that should be preserved. Not all papers and records fall within the collecting mandate of the Archives. Listed below is further detail on what to donate.

To discuss donating a collection of personal, organizational, or business papers please contact Doug Cass at (403) 268-4203 or by email at

What to donate?
Glenbow's archivists work closely with donors to identify materials of research interest that should be preserved. Although not all papers and records fall within the collecting mandate of the Archives, the types of materials listed below are often valuable. Materials need not be old. In order to ensure the preservation of the history of more recent decades the Archives often acquires collections from the late twentieth century. These lists are suggestive but not definitive.

Personal and Family Papers - Letters, diaries, speeches/lectures, albums, scrapbooks, memoirs/reminiscences, photographs, professional files, films, videotapes and audiotapes

Organizational Records - Articles of incorporation, constitution, bylaws, correspondence, planning documents, architectural records, legal documents, diaries, minutes of meetings, reports, memoranda, newsletters and other publications, directories, summary financial documents, press releases, membership records, and research and subject files

Business Records - Articles of incorporation, bylaws, correspondence (especially of senior officers), planning documents, architectural records, legal documents, minutes of meetings, reports, memoranda, newsletters and other publications, directories, summary financial documents, press releases, staff files, and research and subject files

Because the research value of papers and records may be diminished if items are removed or rearranged, donors are encouraged to contact Archives staff before discarding or disturbing materials. Before making a commitment we urge potential donors to visit us.

Special Interests
There are some topical areas where the Archives is especially eager to add to its holdings:

Almost all of the Glenbow Archives' collections have been donated. However, in some circumstances it may be possible to purchase a collection with Museum funds. In no instance will the Archives pay more than the fair market value as determined by independent appraisers acceptable to the Archives. It is the responsibility of the vendor to pay the cost of any such appraisal.

Transfer of Materials to Glenbow Archives
After working with donors to identify materials appropriate for preservation, staff will make arrangements to have the papers or records transported to Glenbow. At the Museum all collections are subject to an examination (for harmful insects) which may take several weeks. Legal transfer of the materials from the donor to Glenbow occurs when the donor reviews and signs a gift agreement formally making a gift of the collection to the Archives. All Glenbow collections belong to the Province of Alberta. The Archives can only invest materials and labour in the care of collections which it owns, therefore it does not accept materials on deposit or loan.

Restrictions on Access
Sensitive material may, at times, be found within collections. Archives staff will discuss with a donor the possibility of restricting parts of a collection to protect the privacy of the donor or of others. Although desiring to make all papers and records freely accessible to researchers, the Archives will normally agree to reasonable and equitable restrictions for limited periods of time.

Copyright generally belongs to the creator of writings and other original material (such as photographs), and can be legally transferred. To enable researchers to quote readily from collections, the Archives asks donors to transfer any copyright that they possess to Glenbow Museum.

Monetary Appraisals for Tax Deductions
In certain circumstances, it may be possible for a donor to take a tax deduction for the donation of an archival collection to Glenbow. Donors are encouraged to speak with their accountants about this possibility. Archives staff cannot give tax advice or appraise the monetary value of a collection. All collections of significant value are appraised by arms-length appraisers, including the National Archival Appraisal Board. The Archives requests that donors pay the costs of any NAAB appraisals. All collections valued over $20,000 can be submitted to the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board for certification in order for donors to receive a 100% tax deduction.

Care of the Collections
Collections are kept in environmentally controlled, secure, closed storage rooms and do not circulate outside the Archives. Staff members retrieve them from the vaults for research use in the supervised Hugh A. Dempsey Reading Room. When the Archives is closed, the facility is protected by an electronic security system.

To provide access, collections are arranged and described (catalogued) by experienced, professional archivists. They prepare inventories which are used by researchers to select materials to study. To provide information about the Archives' holdings, the staff mounts a description of each collection on the Glenbow's website.

Collections may contain materials that have physically deteriorated or are fragile. If necessary, staff archivists can consult with professional conservators in the conservation area of Glenbow to decide upon appropriate treatment. Most fragile nineteenth century collections have been microfilmed or scanned and the originals are not normally provided to researchers. Providing physical and intellectual control of valuable collections is expensive. Donors who are able to do so are encouraged to provide financial support for the arrangement, description, and maintenance of their papers or records. This is done in two ways: to provide support for arrangement and description, donors (or anyone) can make a contribution to the Glenbow Museum for archival cataloguing. All organizations and businesses that have ongoing operations are asked annually for a maintenance fee based on the size of their collection in the Archives.

130 9th Ave S.E.
Calgary, AB T2G 0P3

Monday: Closed
Tuesday - Thursday: 9am - 5pm
Friday: 9am - 8pm
Saturday: 9am - 5pm
Sunday: 12pm - 5pm


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