The Michigan Tech Archives welcomes gifts of books, manuscripts, photographs, and other historical materials that relate to the history of Michigan Technological University and the western Upper Peninsula. It is, in part, through such generosity that the Archives is able to add depth and diversity to the archival resources made available to our research communities.
The following guidelines are offered to assist donors. Based upon these criteria, the Michigan Tech Archives retains the right to accept or decline all potential gifts. In addition, should a gift be accepted, the Archives retains the right to include that material in the archives collection, route to the Library’s main collection, or otherwise route or dispose of as determined by the needs of the collection and the nature of the items donated.
Due to the cost and time involved with managing the gift-in-kind process, the Archives is interested in acquiring only those gifts that are relevant to the history of the western Upper Peninsula or the university. All potential gifts will be evaluated by the university archivist, or the university archivist’s designee, in accordance with the collection development policies of the Van Pelt and Opie Library. Potential gift items will meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Support the topical areas the Archives is currently collecting or interested in collecting
- Support the current and/or evolving curriculum and academic disciplines of the university;
- Sustain the research needs of faculty and students, genealogists, and other patrons
- Augment collections of depth; such as those pertaining to copper mining and industrial heritage
- Advance new collecting areas for the department
- Enhance the unique and noteworthy holdings of the Michigan Tech Archives
Types of Donations that are Generally Considered Inappropriate
- Materials that are not in good physical condition, e.g., contain mold or mildew, tears, stains, water damage or are in any way impaired in a manner that results in limited or restricted use. Items that pose a hazard to existing collections will not be considered unless appropriate conservation work can take place at the donor’s expense or through existing projects/partnerships.
- Materials that require significant restoration, conservation, or unique storage, unless accompanied by appropriate funding. Example: unique forms, such as nitrate film, which requires cold storage.
- Large museum type artifacts and most artwork. Art, artifacts, and objects are very rarely accommodated by the Archives.
- Popular trade paperbacks, unless by an author affiliated with the university or the region.
- Gifts on which a donor places restrictions that will negatively affect access to and use of the materials. In very rare instances the Archives will accept material with restrictions, but this must be negotiated in advance of the gift and approved by the University Archivist.
- Materials which duplicate current holdings, unless they could potentially replace a worn copy.
- Photocopies/facsimiles of original materials.
- Single issues of periodicals or broken runs of bound periodicals, unless they fill gaps in our current collection.
- Potential donors of materials should contact the University Archivist for the Van Pelt and Opie Library by calling 906-487-3209 or e-mailing email@example.com.
- Once initial contact is made, the University Archivist will ensure adherence to the Van Pelt and Opie Library’s policies on accepting gifts-in-kind for the Archives. Only the University Librarian, the University Archivist, or their designee can authorize acceptance of collections on behalf of the Michigan Tech Archives.
- When possible, donors will provide a container or title list and a description of any gift prior to it being considered. In lieu of a container or title list, the donor may make arrangements with the University Archivist to conduct a physical appraisal of the materials during an on-site evaluation of the collection before a determination of acceptance can be made. This on-site appraisal of the materials will assist in determining the appropriateness for deposit in the Archives.
- Once a gift is accepted, the donor will work with the University Archivist to make arrangements for delivering the material to the Archives. In most cases, it is the donor’s responsibility to transport items to the Van Pelt and Opie Library. Please note: Archives donations are only accepted Monday - Friday.
- Upon receiving a gift, the Archives will have the donor fill out our deed of gift receipt in order to document legal transfer of the material to the university. Once the deed of gift is signed and any restrictions noted, the gift becomes the property of Michigan Technological University.
- Gifts delivered without prior arrangement or contact with the University Archivist or staff listed above will either be considered an anonymous donation or will be discarded.
- Upon receiving a gift, material is further appraised and those items that will be kept for the collections will be routed to cataloging (books and serials) or accessioned (archival materials) in accordance with archives policies. With the exception of some archival materials, all gifts added to the collection will be cataloged and listed in the Library’s online public catalog and/or published in a finding aid through the Archives website..
- Gifts that are not added to the collection may be disposed of in one of the following ways:
- If rare or of artifactual value, items may be sold to a book dealer or offered to Better World Books as part of an existing agreement with that vendor. Proceeds will be used to support future activities of the Van Pelt and Opie Library.
- All other unaccessioned gifts may be donated to the Friends of the Michigan Tech Library and sold through the periodic book sales or items may be recycled or otherwise discarded.
- Only in rare circumstances, and if arranged in advance, may unaccessioned items be returned to the donor. If the donor wishes to have such materials returned to them, please note this at the time of completing the gift receipt.
The donor is responsible for all monetary appraisal of their gift. If an appraisal by a third party is to be conducted this must be arranged by the donor with a reputable specialist or subject expert in advance of arranging a gift to the Archives. The Archives does not furnish a list of appraisers and is unable to conduct monetary appraisal of gifts. If donors plan to claim a gift on their taxes, under current tax law for gifts over $500 but less than $5,000, donors must file a completed IRS Form 8283. Gifts exceeding $5,000 require a formal appraisal, which must be secured by the donor. A formal appraisal letter is required to accompany filing IRS Form 8283 for gifts of this amount. The value of the gift should always be determined prior to transfer to the Archives if the donor is interested in claiming the gift on their taxes. A copy of any appraisal assessment should be furnished to the Archives at the time of deed of gift.
IRS law prohibits archivists and staff from appraising materials or the Archives paying for or arranging for appraisals. Pertinent information is available in IRS Publication No. 561 “Determining the Value of Donated Property”. Because tax laws change frequently, it is advisable that donors seek professional tax or estate counsel prior to making a gift.
Referral to Other Institutions
Donors who offer materials or collections that the Michigan Tech Archives cannot accept may be referred to other archives, libraries, or charitable book donation programs.
Financial support is crucial for our collections and services; it enables us to preserve and thoroughly catalog the materials we collect, making them accessible to users, and helps us better meet the needs of researchers. Although such gifts are never a requirement for the acceptance of a collection, donors who are able to assist the Archives by making contributions toward the required preservation and processing of their papers or collection would be providing much needed assistance and are encouraged to do so.
For more information, please contact:
Michigan Tech Archives
Van Pelt and Opie Library
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931