Making a donation or bequest 

How do I give an object to the Museum?

If you would like to gift an object to Te Papa, first make an appointment with a curator.

Please do not bring objects to Te Papa without an appointment. Hosts are not permitted to accept objects.

Te Papa acts as custodian of its collections for all the people of New Zealand. This is a huge responsibility and means that Museum staff must carefully consider all objects they are offered before they can be added to the collections.

While Te Papa greatly appreciates offers of donations or bequests, the Museum cannot accept gifts automatically. In all cases, a proposed gift must go through an approval or acquisition process.

When an item is accepted as a gift (or bequest), it goes through a formal process of change of ownership to become, in law, part of the Museum’s collection. This means that it will receive the highest standards of professional care in conservation, storage, and security. 

What happens to a gift after it has been approved?

There will be a full consultation with donors to take account of cultural sensitivities, which will determine the way in which a collection item is handled, stored, or displayed.

The Museum has highly trained collection managers and conservators to care for its collections. The gift will be fully recorded by a collection manager and, if necessary, it will be conserved to protect it from deterioration before it is allocated secure and appropriate storage or placed on display.

Very few items in the Museum’s collections are on permanent display. We can only display a small proportion of our collections at a time, and the selection of items is governed by the exhibition programme. Also, for conservation reasons, some items can only be displayed for fairly short periods of time.

Who to contact

To make an appointment to see a curator, please call the Te Papa Enquiry Centre, ph 04 381 7000.
For further information about making a gift or donation, contact Te Papa through the online Enquiry Form.