What We Collect
The Silver City Museum creates opportunities for residents and visitors to explore, understand, and celebrate the rich and diverse cultural heritage of southwestern New Mexico by collecting, preserving, researching and interpreting the region's unique history.

The Museum collections policy is based upon the statement of purpose; all objects accepted to the collections must support this mission. The scope of our Collections spans the entire period of human habitation in southwest New Mexico.

Objects accepted into the Museum's collections must:
  • be made or used in the southwest New Mexico area by people of any culture, from pre-history to the present;
  • be in good condition, or in readily restorable condition, strong enough to be displayed in public exhibits;
  • meet the requirements of the 1970 UNESCO convention (must not have been illegally imported, exported, acquired, or given), the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, and all state and federal antiquities and endangered species acts.
In evaluating an object for acceptance into the Permanent Collection of the Silver City Museum, our curatorial staff will consider the following questions:
  • What is the local history significance of the object?
  • Is there documentation (written or oral) on the object?
  • Is the object in need of conservation work?
  • Does the object duplicate or support the existing collection?
  • What is the object's exhibit potential?
  • What impact would the object have on available storage space?
Objects accepted to the Silver City Museum Collections become property of the Town of Silver City. Acceptance obligates the Museum to furnish professional, long-term care for the object; to provide a stable, secure environment for it in both storage and exhibit situations; and to protect it from unnecessary handling, excessive light, and other damaging effects. A gift contract, listing the items and signed by the donor and a Museum representative, makes the transaction official and provides both parties with a legal record of the gift.

The value of objects contributed to the Silver City Museum collections are tax deductible; however, as an interested party in the transaction, the Museum cannot appraise the value of donated objects for tax purposes. Objects are exhibited at the discretion of the Museum. Artifacts from the collections are used for public display in exhibits where they fit exhibit themes. Objects of a fragile nature (textiles, for example) are periodically rotated in our longer-term exhibits to avoid prolonged exposure to light and dust. Collections objects are available for study by researchers, by appointment.
Thinking of donating an object to the Silver City Museum?
Speak with the Museum Director or a member of the curatorial staff. If necessary, a staff member can come to look over the offered material. We appreciate the opportunity to consider new acquisitions. If an offered item falls outside the Museum's collection scope because it was not used locally, the staff can help locate a museum in the area where the object was originally used. Some objects that do not fit the criteria for the Museum's Permanent Collection may be accepted into our Use Collection for education or other potentially consumptive use, with the agreement of the potential donor. Contact Registrar & Collections Manager