Got An Artifact?
Have an item you are just curious about?
The Museum does not have available staff to do in-depth research on objects held outside the Museum collection.
Want some basic information about something you own? Send an email to Sandy.Staebell@wku.edu. Include an object description, as much of its history as you know, and your contact information. Attach a photo of the item to your email. Include photos and/or descriptions of serial numbers and other identifying manufacturer marks and information. The Collections staff will do limited research as their work schedule permits.
For in-depth research, look for specialty collecting books and collector organizations. Check the holdings of your local public library and/or ask its reference staff to request such materials through interlibrary loan. The WKU Special Collections Library also houses materials that may help identify your collectible. For a fee, you can also hire a member of one of the following organizations to identify and research your object:
Before hiring any appraiser, review the information these organizations provide on their websites regarding the appraisal process, training their members receive, levels of membership and related matters. Asking for references is always a good idea.
Thinking of donating an item to the Museum?
The Museum Collections Committee approves all donations based upon criteria outlined in the Museum Collection Plan.
Before bringing the object to the Museum, go to the KY Museum Object Donation page and complete the form. You may also email to Sandy.Staebell@wku.edu. Include a description of each item, as much of its history as you know, and your contact information. Attach a photo of each item. A staff member will get back to you.
The Museum does not accept objects as long term loans.
Want an item evaluated for its worth or for insurance purposes?
The Museum staff cannot place valuations on objects held by private citizens or outside organizations.
To determine the value of your antique or collectible, you may wish to:
Do your own internet research and visit area antique malls, yard sales, auctions, etc., to determine the approximate local or regional value of similar items.
Hire an appraiser affiliated with one of the organizations listed under the previous section.
Need to have your antique or collectible cleaned or conserved?
Everything that can be done has a risk associated with it. Before taking any actions yourself, you may wish to consult a conservator. Please visit the following website for advice about how to take care of your antiques and collectibles and guidance on how to find a conservator.
The Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute is a great online reference resource. Find information about artifact appraisals, conservation, dating of artifacts and more.