Victoria County Historical Society/ Olde Gaol Museum Donation Criteria

The Victoria County Historical Society was established to increase community awareness and appreciation of local heritage. It seeks to inspire and engage with the public through cultural exhibits, events and partnerships within its community. Through its outreach initiatives, the VCHS features, celebrates and shares local stories and how they connect to Canada's history.

Active & Passive Collecting

In developing their collections, museums are increasingly guided by active, or research-focused collecting as opposed to purely passive collecting. Under the direction of museum management, curatorial staff develop exhibits and programmes based on rigorously-researched topics, themes, and historical milestones. They do not merely display assorted objects where space permits or because the objects in question are aesthetically attractive. If you do not see your donated object on exhibit right away, it is not because we have no use for it – other considerations, such as space and relevance to the current exhibitions, dictate when, where, how, and why we use donated objects.

If you are considering donating something to the museum, please keep in mind the following criteria:

  • Does the item reflect the social, political, natural, legal, industrial, and/or cultural history of the Town of Lindsay and the surrounding townships? While other items may be considered, those which are indigenous to Lindsay and the surrounding townships will take priority.

  • Is the item a duplicate of other items in our collection? We have very limited storage space, and the more duplicates of an item we have, the less likely they will be displayed.

  • Is the item in good enough to condition to display? Would it present a hazard to museum personnel, visitors, or surrounding artefacts? Please do not repair, refurbish, or otherwise alter an object before donating, as its existing condition can aid researchers in understanding its history and how it was used.

  • Any information you can provide about the history of the object makes it more likely to be considered for donation. This information is vital for the purposes of documentation, insurance, research, and potential exhibition.

What follows are some examples of what might quite possibly be accepted for donation to the Victoria County Historical Society, and what is unlikely to be accepted for donation.

“No, not likely...”

  • Some reproduction prints of Thomas Gainsborough landscapes that were cheaply framed in 1977 and purchased at a garage sale.

  • A collection of early 20th century medical textbooks from the University of Toronto. No names or other identifying marks are present.

  • A nonworking, unrestored pump organ purchased at an estate sale in Vermont.

  • A settee used by donor’s great-great-aunt in Sudbury during the early 1900s

  • Some generic woodworking tools

“Yes, quite possibly...”

  • Original drawings or paintings by a 19th Century artist with local provenance. Artworks are in original frames, which are in mint condition.

  • Diaries of a local doctor, depicting his observations of life in Lindsay

  • A fully-functioning piano or pump organ that was sold in Lindsay in 1895 and used in a local school

  • A chair used by Leslie Frost at his Lindsay law office.

  • The complete set of hand tools used by John McNeely McCrea, a local model-maker

All potential donations must be approved by the Victoria County Historical Society Curatorial and Artefact Committee before being added to our collection. Donated artefacts will become the legal property of the Victoria County Historical Society upon their being formally accepted for donation.

Education Collection

The Victoria County Historical Society recognizes the importance of experiential learning for its visitors. In fulfilment of this need and to ensure the integrity of the permanent collection, the VCHS collects and manages objects separate from the permanent collection to be used for the purpose of enhancing the learning experience during a museum visit, school program, outreach activities or travelling exhibition.

To be accepted into the Education Collection the items should reflect the following criteria:

  • be in good to excellent condition,

  • be either original or reproduction,

  • reflect the programming needs of Victoria County Historical Society

  • be safe to use

  • not contravene any legislation

The Victoria County Historical Society may, pending a decision from the Board of Directors, transfer artifacts that are deaccessioned from the permanent collection into the Education Collection for programme use.