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Potential Donors of Historic Objects and Materials

The Museum of Osteopathic Medicine collects historic materials that support its education, exhibition, and scholarship functions. The collections policies are guided by the Museum’s mission statement.

Anyone considering making any donation (large or small) should call the Curator first, to be sure the items are appropriate for the collection. Calling beforehand saves the donor the trouble and expense of shipping items that cannot be accepted. It also allows us to give advice on packing and shipping so that your precious objects and photographs arrive safely.

Statement of Purpose:

To preserve and promote the history and tenets of osteopathy through collections and research to a global audience.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What does the museum collect?

The artifacts that tell the story of osteopathy come in many different forms, including three-dimensional objects, photographs, manuscripts and documents, and printed material; the Museum collects all of these formats. We are the international museum for osteopathic history and thus collect materials documenting the growth and practice of osteopathic medicine in all parts of the world. We primarily focus on the early years of osteopathy (through 1950) and accept only limited materials dated after 1974.

What does the museum not collect?

The Museum has an adequate representation of the following types of artifacts and thus no longer accepts them:

  • General medical books, unless written by a D.O.
  • Medical bags
  • General medical instruments and supplies
  • Medications
  • Plaques and trophies
  • Kirksville diplomas (Diplomas from other schools are welcome.)
  • State licenses, AOA membership certificates, and similar documents

Exceptions may be made when there is something particularly unusual about the item in question.

How does the donation process work?

It is very important that you call first to discuss your potential donation. Once your donation is received, you will get a temporary gift agreement form to sign and return to the Museum. We will also ask your wishes regarding any items we cannot use for the collection; options include allowing us to sell, trade, or otherwise dispose of the items in a way that benefits the Museum, or returning them to you (at your expense). Once your donation has been accepted, you will receive a formal deed of gift agreement to sign and return to the Museum.

Is my donation tax-deductible?

Your gift may be tax deductible. Museum of Osteopathic Medicine / ATSU is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational institution. You may be required to complete an IRS Form 8283; please consult your tax advisor. The University/Museum does not provide IRS form 8283.

Is my donation tax-deductible?

Donors of property gifts of over $5,000, except for gifts of publicly traded stock, must obtain an appraisal by an independent third-party appraiser in accordance with current tax law requirements. Donors are responsible for obtaining their own appraisals for tax purposes of real property or tangible or intangible personal property being given to the Museum of Osteopathic Medicine / ATSU and for any fees or other expenses related to such appraisals. Museum of Osteopathic Medicine / ATSU retains the right to obtain its own qualified appraisals of real property or tangible or intangible personal property being offered as a gift at its own expense.

Will the object I donate be kept on exhibit?

The Museum cannot display every object, and some artifacts should not be exhibited because of their condition. However, many items that cannot be exhibited are still very valuable for research or education.

May I limit the use of my donation?

The Museum will accept restricted donations only in exceptional cases. A privacy request such as “I’d like to donate my diary, but I don’t want anyone to read it until after my death” is an example of a reasonable restriction. A restriction such as “Only ATSU students and alumni may use my papers” or “The object always has to be on display” would not be acceptable.

A note about framed objects

We recommend that documents and photographs be removed from frames before shipping (unless there is something unusual about the frame). Framing glass frequently breaks, slicing and damaging the enclosed objects. Frames are also bulky and expensive to ship. Once removed from the frames, however, be sure to provide adequate support for the photograph or document, such as sandwiching the item between two pieces of clean corrugated cardboard. (“Shirt cardboard” is not sufficient!) Please call if you have any questions about packing artifacts for shipment.

Artifact Appraisals

The Museum of Osteopathic Medicine does not offer appraisals or authentications for donors. Antiques, artworks and other collectible items have such an individual nature that fixed values can be difficult to establish. You can ascertain the current range of prices for items by consulting auction price guides available in public libraries or bookstores. Antique dealers, professional appraisers and official appraisers of local probate courts usually can give prevailing price values. For those individuals wishing to have their artifacts appraised, we have created a short list of resources. This list is not inclusive and you might also try contacting auction houses, antique dealers or looking in the local yellow pages for appraisers.

View list of appraisers

The Museum of Osteopathic Medicine, (MOM), gives no endorsements for any products, materials or services mentioned on this website and are not responsible for problems from their use or misuse. MOM does not make warranty, expressed or implied; does not assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness or any information or process disclosed; nor represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. If any organizations or other pertinent information has been inadvertently excluded please contact MOM.

Artifact Identification

Resources in your area that might have information or personnel to help you identify your object(s) are:

A.T. Still Museum collage

The collections of the Museum of Osteopathic Medicine include more than 80,000 objects, photographs, documents, and books dating from the early 1800s to the present (focused mainly on 1870–1940). The core of the collection consists of artifacts from A. T. Still's professional and private life, most of them donated by Dr. Still's daughter, Blanche Laughlin, and members of her family.

Since the founding of the Museum in 1934, other family members, DOs, and Museum supporters have donated many additional artifacts that reflect the ongoing history of the osteopathic profession. The research collections of the International Center for Osteopathic History (ICOH) also include many former holdings of the A.T. Still Memorial Library, for which the Museum assumed responsibility in 1997.