Support the Archives and Museum

We build our collection through the generous donation of archival materials and artefacts from individuals, organizations, businesses and municipalities. Through your donations, we are able to preserve and provide public access to the history of Northumberland County for research, education and enjoyment.

Donate an item

Contact us if you have items that you would like us to consider for donation or municipal transfer. Please note that we cannot accept all items but we will try to suggest other options for your collection if we are unable to accept your donation.

Make a financial contribution

You may provide a financial contribution to the Archives and Museum in one of the following ways:

Contribute by cash or cheque

  • In person at the Archives and Museum (200 Ontario Street, Cobourg)

  • By mail or in person at County Headquarters (555 Courthouse Road, Cobourg)

Contribute by debit or credit card

  • By phone to our main reception (credit only)

  • In person at County Headquarters (555 Courthouse Road, Cobourg)

Donate online

Frequently asked questions

What can I donate?

Personal and family items

  • Diaries, journals and notebooks
  • Films or home videos
  • Letters and emails
  • Manuscripts
  • Photos and negatives – dated and identified
  • Scrapbooks and albums
  • Speeches
  • Records of career and community involvement

Business records

  • Articles of incorporation
  • Annual reports
  • Building plans
  • Maps
  • Correspondence
  • Legal documents
  • Memoranda
  • Minutes and agendas
  • Photos – dated and identified
  • Press releases
  • Registers

Organization, association or club records

  • Constitutions
  • Correspondence
  • Directories
  • Membership records
  • Minutes
  • Photos – dated and identified


Objects with strong local provenance that support our existing or anticipated collections

Still not sure?

Contact us. We will work with you to identify what materials we may be interested in adding to the collection.

How do I transfer municipal records?

Member municipalities can transfer inactive, permanent archival records through a formal service agreement to the Archives and Museum. Contact us for details.

How do you decide which donations to accept?

We examine the uniqueness, provenance and condition of each potential donation, and consider its research value for future generations. When determining whether we will accept your donation, we will ask a number of questions including:

  • approximate size, dates and subject matter of materials
  • type of materials to be donated – photos, textual records, artefacts, audiovisual
  • completeness of the records – for example, were some materials destroyed or lost?
  • biographical details about you and/or the creator
  • history of ownership or custody of the materials
  • confirmation of current ownership and copyright
  • privacy concerns or access restrictions
  • condition and conservation concerns

We cannot accept items on long-term deposit or loan due to the investment of resources required in the care for the collections.

What are your collecting priorities?

We want to develop an inclusive and diverse collection that tells the history of communities from all across Northumberland County. We prioritize the collection of materials from currently under-represented municipalities, groups and subjects including:

  • Trent Hills
  • Brighton
  • Cramahe
  • Alnwick/Haldimand
  • Ethnic cultures, families and individuals
  • Immigration

How should I prepare my items for donation?

  • Gather all information available about your items and those who created them.
  • Identify any records that you may like to assign time-limited access restrictions – time-limited restrictions help balance privacy concerns and authenticity of the historical record.
  • Inspect your items for mould or pests – we will work with you to create a treatment action plan before transfer to the Archives and Museum.
  • Maintain the original order of your records – sometimes the context and interrelatedness of records is just as informative as the records themselves.
  • Contact us with as much information as you can about the materials you wish to donate. If you reside in Northumberland County, we can come to you for the assessment and transfer. If you live outside of Northumberland County, we will work with you to recommend options for the safe transfer of your materials.

What happens with my donation?

Transferring ownership

After we assess and accept your donation, you will sign a Deed of Gift legally transferring ownership of materials to the Archives and Museum. Together, we will determine copyright terms and access restrictions as part of the Deed of Gift agreement.


We encourage donors to transfer their ownership of copyright to us upon donation. It is not a mandatory condition for donation, but it allows more open and streamlined use of your materials. Otherwise, users – including us – must seek your permission every time we wish to use your donation other than for private study or research. Please note that as a donor, you can only transfer copyright for records you authored or those where copyright ownership was assigned to you.


Any private or sensitive contents within your collection can be made restricted to the public for a specified period.

Conservation work

If there is an item that is very fragile and requires conservation work, we will decide on the appropriate course of treatment through consultation.


We clean, describe, arrange, catalogue and prepare finding aids for your items and store them in our secure, climate controlled storage rooms.

Can I still access my items if I donate them?

Yes, you can access your donation by visiting us during operating hours or by appointment. To ensure the continued preservation and accessibility of your materials, we cannot loan items received by donation back to you.

Who will see my donation?

  • We make your items available for study to researchers, students and educators touring our facility or in displays, exhibitions and publications
  • We may digitize the item so it is available as an online resource for researchers
  • We will comply with all negotiated and legislated access restrictions

Can I bequeath items to the archives?

Yes, please contact us prior to making any decisions to ensure your gift meets our collecting mandate.

Can I receive a tax receipt for my donation?

We provide tax receipts by request for donations with a minimum appraised value of $25.00. An accredited professional outside of our organization conducts appraisals at the cost of the donor.