Esperance Museum Donations

Things to consider before making a donation.

Unfortunately, we are unable to accept everything that is offered to us. We have particular collecting priorities, and some areas of our collection are already well developed. If we already hold good examples of an item with good provenance we are unlikely to accept more.

Due to limited exhibition space, storage, care requirements, provenance to Esperance and the Museum Collection Policy, we must consider every donation proposal very carefully.

Please review the information below prior to making a donation to the Museum.

What is provenance?

Provenance is the history or origin of an item - where and when it was made or created and record of ownership


The Esperance Museum will only accept items that you legally own. We cannot accept an item where current ownership is unknown, might be disputed, it belongs to someone else, has been stolen, illegally exported from its country of origin or illegally removed from archaeological, historic or significant sites.

We strongly recommend you talk with your family before you offer an item to the Esperance Museum. Consider their wishes and the younger members of your family before you proceed.

Can I ask for my item back at a later stage after I’ve donated it?

No. Once you have donated an item it becomes the property of the Esperance Museum. However, anyone can request access to information about items in the museum collection.

Copyright of items

There is copyright for items such as photos, documents, cds, dvds etc. Copyright is a legal right given to the creator for a fixed number of years. It protects the item as soon as it is created. If you own the copyright to the item you can donate the copyright to the museum.

For further information on copyright and how it may affect you and the item you have please visit the Australian Copyright Council at

What can I donate to the Museum?

The Esperance Museum is interested in original items that have anything to do with Esperance heritage and history. Items can be objects, photos, documents, maps, textiles etc. Items that tell a story about people, places or events in the Esperance region will be considered for the collection.

When we assess an item we take into consideration the Museum Collection Policy and if the item:

  • is well provenanced, with good information about its history and owners;
  • is in a suitable condition for long-term storage or display;
  • relates to themes, issues or people of the Esperance region;
  • is a particularly good example of its type or not well-represented in the museum collection.

Do you accept clothing or textiles?

Clothing or textiles that were made or worn in and by local Esperance residents will be considered. It is preferable that the item is in good condition and accompanied by photos and history of the item.

Do items have to be in perfect condition?

We prefer items that are in good condition, but even an item in poor condition may still be of great significance in telling a particular story. In fact the damage an item received during its life might tell an important story in itself.

The condition of an item will be considered in the assessment process. Items that have the potential to deteriorate further or impact on the deterioration of other items may not be suitable for the museum collection.

Will items I donate go on display in the Museum?

There is no guarantee that your item will ever be on public display. However, a major role of the museum is to make the collection available to the public for research and education purposes. All items which are accepted as donations are important to the Museum, whether they are on display or not.

How do I donate an item to the Esperance Museum?

If you wish to donate an item to the Museum, please complete a Donation Proposal Form providing your contact details along with information about the item you would like to donate. Provide as much information about the item as you can including photographs, associated documentation, personal knowledge and history.

Museum staff will contact you and either discuss your donation further, or let you know whether or not your item is suitable for the Esperance collection. It can be a lengthy process to assess items and we appreciate your patience as we give your offer thorough and complete attention.

What happens if my item is not accepted?

Museum staff will contact you and advise if the item is not suitable for the collection. We may be able to provide alternative options for the future your item.

Any item that is not accepted and is physically in the museum will be returned to the donor. The Esperance Museum is unable to dispose of any items on the donor’s behalf.

I have an item similar to one in the Museum’s collection. What can you tell me about it?

The Museum is staffed by volunteers who only work limited hours each week. The volunteers are not able to provide a full research service and can only provide a brief overview of the items that are within the Esperance Museum collection. However, you can make an appointment to access the records and conduct the research you require.

While we can provide information about the items in our collection, we cannot conduct research on your behalf. However we may be able to refer you to sources that may be able to assist.