Donations - York Museums Trust


COVID-19. We need your support more than ever!

These are unprecedented times and the indefinite closure of York Castle Museum, Yorkshire Museum, York Art Gallery and York Museum Gardens presents a major financial threat to the future sustainability of York Museums Trust.

Help us continue to share the wonderful collections, gardens, buildings and stories in our care for generations to come.

Please donate if you can:

To make a donation click HERE.


To Donate £5, text YMT to 70660*

*Texts cost £5 plus one standard message. York Museums Trust receive 100% of your donation. You must be aged 16 or over to send a text donation. Please ensure that you have the bill payer’s permission before donating. For our privacy policy, please click here 

York Museums Trust is a registered charity 1092466.

A personal message to you from our Chief Executive, Reyahn King

The majority of our income comes from ticket and membership sales so we know that closing for an indefinite period will have a very significant negative impact on our sustainability. As a charity, working together with audiences and communities, York Museums Trust aims to inspire, share and care for York’s fantastic cultural heritage. We hope that you will be able to support us going forward by making a donation. To do so, you can make an online donation here or if you would like to discuss your donation further email Charlotte Kindesjo, Head of Fundraising and Communications at [email protected] or telephone 01904 687687.

Your ongoing support is crucial to our survival.
Thank you for your support to date, stay safe and look after each other.

Object Donations

During the coronavirus crisis, York Museums Trust is continuing to follow government advice and the safety and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers and visitors are of the utmost importance. 

In line with the latest guidelines, York Castle Museum, York Art Gallery and the Yorkshire Museum will be closed until further notice. Our acquisitions programme is also closed at this time. 

Under the government’s coronavirus job retention scheme, our staff are on furlough leave from 1 April to 30 June 2020. If you have already offered an object for donation, please be aware that our work on this is currently on hold; we will be in touch after 1 July. New offers will not be acknowledged or considered until after this date. 

The collections managed by York Museums Trust (YMT) have their origins in the 17th century. Private and civic collections held within the city began to amass as intellectual curiosity and interest in archaeology, art, history and natural sciences increased across North Yorkshire. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries these collections came together within a number of York-based organisations. The collections of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society (YPS) and York Corporation (now City of York Council) were exhibited within three institutions: The Yorkshire Museum and the Yorkshire Museum Gardens (YM and YMG), York Art Gallery (YAG), and York Castle Museum (YCM).

The collections of all three institutions grew in size and stature under the ownership of City of York Council (CYC). The combined collections of CYC gained designated status in 1997. York Museums Trust was founded in 2002 to manage the museum buildings, gardens and collections on behalf of City of York Council.

Donating Objects to the Collection

If you would like to donate to our collections please read the information below and email [email protected] or call 01904 687687. Please provide as much information about the object as you can including, if possible, a photograph.

The curatorial departments are very busy and may not be able to reply immediately. We will respond as soon as possible, acknowledging your enquiry within a month. We aim to let donors know the outcome of their offers within a 3 month period.


Please be aware that:

  • We don’t usually accept objects on long term loan.
  • We can’t accept objects that represent a potential hazard unless there is a compelling reason to do so. Hazardous items include objects containing asbestos, explosive, flammable, poisonous, potentially carcinogenic or radioactive material.
  • We cannot accept objects that pose a threat to our existing collection (i.e. items with pest infestations).
  • Large objects or collections that may create storage issues will be considered on a case by case basis.
  • Objects should be brought to the museum by appointment only. Please do not send material through the post unless this has been agreed with a curator.
  • When you make an appointment for us to view objects, please only bring the objects you have already discussed with us, and no additional items.
  • We cannot give advice on items for sale or provide valuations. We also cannot authenticate objects.

Unsolicited objects for donation

  • Unsolicited objects for donation are objects that have been left at or posted to one of our sites without prior discussion and agreement with the curators. Unsolicited objects are not accepted. York Museums Trust will do its best to contact the donors of unsolicited offers in order for them to collect their objects. Should objects remain uncollected for four months, or if no contact details are left, absolute ownership will be transferred to the Trust who may dispose of objects as it sees fit.


Please click on one of the subject areas below for more information about what we collect;

  • Archaeology – for example metal detected objects and objects that have been found which are usually older than about 300 years and relate to the history of York and the wider region.
  • Science – for example fossils, taxidermy and rocks.
  • Costume and Textiles – for example clothing, shoes and fashion accessories, and domestic textiles such as rugs and quilts.
  • Art – for example paintings and drawings, ceramics and sculpture
  • Money and Medals – for example coins, tokens, banknotes and military and civilian medals
  • History – for example military objects and objects relating to the personal and working life of people and businesses in the local area.


What happens next?

Curators will look at the object you wish to donate and take your offer for consideration at a Collections Meeting. These meetings occur once a month and are made up of a panel of curators from all subject areas and the registrars. At this meeting a decision to accept or decline your offer will be made. The decision will be made on the basis of our Collections Development Policy which states what York Museums Trust collects and why. You will be notified of the decision by the relevant curator and, if accepted, collection or deposit of your object will be arranged. You will be asked to sign an Entry Form, legally transferring ownership of the object to York Museums Trust.

If your object is not accepted we will, where possible, direct you to another institution that may be interested.

We collect material for research, learning and display. This means that even if you don’t see your donation on display it has been carefully recorded and is accessible by appointment.