Frequently Asked Questions
Donate an Item
Are you considering donating item(s) to the Air Force Museum collection?
Questions and Answers
Why donate an item to the Museum?
Like any museum, we are always looking to develop our collection and are grateful for all offers of material related to New Zealand’s military aviation history.
These details help our Collections Team assess whether items are suitable for the collection. If it is decided that the Museum will accept the item(s), we will contact you about formalising the donation by completing the relevant documentation in accordance with our Collection Management Policy.
What kind of material are you interested in collecting?
Broadly, we are interested in material that relates to New Zealand military aviation. Our Collection Management Policy defines the scope of what we collect and we use it to assess the suitability of all items offered to the Museum.
Our specific areas of interest are: the RNZAF from 1937 to present, the two New Zealand Flying Schools (1915-1921), New Zealanders who served with the flying services of World War 1, the New Zealand Permanent Air Force and its Territorial element (NZPAF/ NZAF), New Zealanders who served with Allied Air Forces (eg. RAF, RAAF, etc), overseas bases of significant interest to the RNZAF, historical enemy forces, associated civilian organisations (eg. Air Transport Auxiliary, International Red Cross, etc).
Of particular significance are the ‘personal collections’ of men and women who have served in the Air Force, regardless of rank or trade. The more complete the personal collection is, the better we can understand the service and history of the individual.
Why would a donation be declined?
While we appreciate the opportunity to consider any item, we cannot guarantee it will be accepted. Developing our collection is a considered process and there are many reasons why an item may not be suitable. For example: it is not relevant to our collecting areas, we have examples already (duplication), poor condition, lack of provenance (ie. information about its background), it contains dangerous or hazardous substances such as radioactive material, explosives or asbestos, etc.
What happens if my donation is declined?
If the item is declined, our Registrar will contact the donor to arrange a suitable time for them to pick up their item. A time for pick up needs to be arranged in advance to make sure the Registrar is available to meet with the donor.
Why do I have to fill out paperwork?
When an item is brought into the Museum, we require an Article Receipt Form to be completed. The Article Receipt Form records the donor’s contact details, a description of the item(s) for consideration, and any other pertinent information which helps our Collections team assess the item.
It is important to note that at this point, the item is still the property of the donor and by signing the article receipt form, the donor agrees that the item is deposited at the Museum for assessment purposes only. If the object is not required for the Collection, the owner is required to collect it. Please note that we are unable to consider items for donation without an Article Receipt Form being completed.
If the item is accepted, our Registrar will contact the donor about completing an Article Donation Form. This form legally transfers ownership from the donor to the Museum Trust Board, therefore it is very important that it is completed correctly and fully. A copy of both forms are kept on file at the Museum in perpetuity. Duplicate copies will also be given to the donor for their own records.
When can I see the Registrar about an item I want to donate?
Emma Meyer, our Registrar, is available on site at the Museum 10.00am-4.30pm, Monday-Friday. Please give her a call in advance to ensure she is free to meet with you, and to allow her to prepare any necessary paperwork. You can also email her at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any further queries.
When will my donation be displayed?
Unfortunately we cannot guarantee if or when any items will be displayed in the Museum galleries. Our collection is vast, and it is impossible for everything to be on display at any one time. Furthermore, it may be necessary to limit exposure for objects which are too fragile to be displayed long-term (eg. textiles and paper-based items). However, we do have rotating displays in a number of key parts of the Museum, which enables us to put new material on display wherever possible. There is also potential for some objects to be displayed virtually in online exhibitions, or on social media.
Why collect items if they’re not going to be displayed?
While we cannot promise donated items will be displayed, everything in our collection exists as an important resource for people researching many different aspects of RNZAF history, or New Zealand military aviation in general. Our Research Team offer a friendly and efficient research service, and frequently make collections available to researchers, by appointment. Furthermore, we draw heavily from our own collection to develop the content for exhibitions and education programmes.
Can I (or my family) view items I have donated?
We welcome viewing of collection items, by appointment. We need time in advance to make sure staff members are available to retrieve objects from storage and assist you during your visit. If you’d like to make a time to view a collection, simply contact the Collections team on email@example.com, or phone (03) 343 9516.
Can I borrow back items I have donated?
Once objects have been donated, they become the legal property of the RNZAF Museum Trust Board. Part of the Museum’s purpose is to ensure the long term preservation and security of its collection items, so for these reason items can not be borrowed by donors for personal use. However, you are welcome to view the items you have donated by making an appointment in advance with our Collections Team (see above).
What happens to my items after I donate them?
After an item has been accepted into the collection, it is accessioned (formally added) to the Collection. It is given a unique accession number, catalogued on our collection database (recording details of the physical aspects of the object, materials and condition, as well as donor and other provenance information), cleaned (where required), photographed, then housed to museum standards. In some cases, it may be placed on public display.
How will my donated items be stored?
As the aim of any museum collection is to preserve artefacts for posterity, we endeavour to uphold the highest museum standards in collections care. Objects are carefully housed in acid-free boxes or custom enclosures, and stored in temperature and humidity-controlled environments. Access to collection stores is strictly controlled to ensure long-term security and preservation of items.