PRESERVING THE PAST

The Museum has more than 4,000 artifacts in its collection, including Judaica, household items, business records, photographs, letters, and other ephemera. We even have Fred Galanty’s prosthetic leg and a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe found hidden in the attic of a Mississippi Delta homeowner.

As with most museums, only a small part of our collection will be on exhibit at any time. The remainder is housed in climate-controlled storage, where it can be cataloged, conserved, and made available to researchers for study and to other museums for loans.

The Museum continues to grow its collection through donations of items but is selective in what it accepts. Physical space and the ability to properly conserve and store items limit what the Museum will accept into its collection. To find out more about what the Museum is looking to collect, click below to learn more.

DONATING ARTIFACTS

The Museum has a procedure for accepting artifacts into its collection. Please review the following information before you contact the Museum. The best way to let the Museum know what you may be interested in donating is to click the “Donate Artifacts” button on the bottom of this page.

The Museum cannot be responsible for any materials that are mailed or dropped off without prior notification and approval.

What types of artifacts are you looking for?

The Museum collects artifacts and archival materials it can properly care for and that will further its mission. The following is a non-exhaustive list of items that the Museum is interested in collecting.

  • Judaica with connections to Southern Jewish history
  • Photographs and scrapbooks showing religious ceremonies and events, Jewish owned businesses, synagogues, Jews participating in civic and cultural events
  • Business items, like ledgers, store memorabilia, signs, salesman samples
  • Personal correspondence, journals, and diaries, especially if it relates to or describes Southern Jewish events and experiences
  • Political ephemera, like buttons, posters, speeches
  • Fine art and folk art by Southern Jewish artists or with connections to Southern Jews

Topics of Special Interest:

  • Southern Jews in each of our 13 states
  • Southern Jews and Slavery
  • Southern Jews and the Civil War
  • The Civil Rights Movement
  • Southern Jews and Military Service
  • The Role of Jewish Women in the South
  • Southern Jews in Politics
  • Southern Jews in Entertainment
  • Southern Jews in Civic Life and Philanthropy
  • Southern Jewish foodways

The following is a non-exhaustive list of items that the Museum does not usually accept:

  • Newspapers and newspaper clippings
  • Books (of non-historic significance)
  • Magazines
  • Personal photographs
  • Record albums
  • Furniture
  • Reproductions
  • Firearms

The Museum can provide a list of other museums and archives that may be interested in your artifacts.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is done with artifacts donated to the Museum?

We use artifacts for exhibits, loans to other museums, and for research. We do not accept items we feel we will not be able to use or properly care for.

Will my donated artifacts be on exhibit?

The Museum does not guarantee artifacts will ever be exhibited. Our collection is catalogued and may be used for exhibition purposes, and by researchers and educators for a number of reasons. If we place your donation on exhibition, we will notify you by mail. We hope to have our collection available online in the near future. We do not place artifacts on “permanent display” or accept long-term loans.

How will my donated artifact be credited if it is ever placed on exhibit?

When making an artifact donation to the Museum, donors can stipulate how they want their donation to be credited, within reason.

Do artifact donors get some sort of receipt or proof of donation?

Yes, artifact donors must sign a Deed of Gift describing their donation. The Museum also signs and provides a copy for the donor’s records. A sample Deed of Gift is found in this packet.

Will the Museum staff appraise artifacts for donors?

The Museum cannot make appraisals, but these organizations may be able to help you:

If you plan to get an appraisal for artifacts, it is best to get them photographed, photocopied and/or appraised before donating them.

Where are the artifacts when they are not on exhibit?

Most of our collection is stored off-site in a climate-controlled storage facility. Artifacts are housed in appropriate acid-free containers and archival-quality materials. Donors are welcome to make an appointment to view their donations when not on exhibit. Please arrange appointments at least two weeks in advance.

Can I lend objects to the museum?

We only borrow items when producing an exhibit for which we cannot supply enough artifacts of our own. If you have a loan offer, please send us a description and photos and indicate the objects are for loan only. We will keep your offer on file and our exhibit planners will have access to it.