|Mae Moss Coffman was known as "Coffee" to her co-workers.|
|Mae Moss as a young woman. Oral history was that she had a photographer boyfriend.|
The first step is to identify a museum that might want your family heirlooms. Make a list of museums that you have visited or that are on your list to visit. I tend to visit museums that might have historical collections related to my family history. For example, one of my favorite museums is the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA). I have tons of family history centered in Oakland, California. My grandmother and her sister grew up in Oakland and were surrounded by many family members who lived in Northern California for decades. Perhaps the OMCA might be interested in my family heirloom collection.
Once you have identified your preferred museum for donation or sale, visit their website and read their donation and sale policy. For example, here is the policy for donation from the OMCA website:
"Donating or Selling Objects to the Oakland Museum of California
Thank you for your interest in donating or selling items to Oakland Museum of California’s permanent collection. Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) collects art, history, and natural sciences objects related to California.
In order to consider your donation of artwork(s), artifact(s) or specimen(s), OMCA requires interested parties to submit a written proposal to be considered by our curatorial and collections staff.
Please note, proposals for gifts that would qualify for the 2015 year-end tax deduction needed to be received by December 1, 2015.
What to include in a proposal:
In order for Museum staff to consider the object, please submit the following information in your proposal:
Whether you are offering a donation or sale. If the item is for sale, provide price and any conditions or terms.
Connections to California are essential, so please be sure to state them.
Information about the object such as: a general description; the name of artist or manufacturer (if known); dimensions; date made; history of how it was made or used; and, any other details you can provide.
Good pictures. Visual documentation is also important to the process, in particular to help assess condition.
How you came to own the object. Please also include any formal documentation of ownership.
Once we receive your complete proposal, OMCA staff will carefully consider your offer, and make a decision based on criteria such as its relevance to the OMCA mission, how well it fits with plans for the OMCA Collection, whether it is in good condition, and whether we can adequately care for it in the future. Not all donation or sale offers can be accepted.
We respond to proposals on a first come, first served basis. However, depending on the unique considerations of each proposal, it can take anywhere from one month to six months for us to respond.
Please do not bring objects to the Museum. We will be in touch if we need to view the item(s) in person. Note that we cannot offer appraisals nor can we recommend appraisers. For these questions, please visit the American Society of Appraisers website or call ASA at 800-272-8258.
Mail proposals to:
Oakland Museum of California Attention:OMCA Lab, Acquisitions Committee1000 Oak Street, Oakland, CA 94607
Or submit via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your interest in supporting the Oakland Museum of California."
This seems like a great model for a donation to any museum. My proposal would center on preserving the collection of a working class family based in Oakland, California. The matriarch, Mae Moss Coffman Forbes was raised in an orphanage in Sacramento and came to Oakland from San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake. She was married in Oakland in 1907 to Ernest Coffman. Ernest lived in Oakland near his parents, brother and sister and their families.
|Ernest Coffman, Elaine and Vivian's father written by Vivian.|
|David and Viola Hughes, Oakland, California|
|Coffman Bros. Tires Advertisement, Oakland Tribune, October 17, 1920|
To make a donation of family heirlooms, the next step is to make an inventory of your family heirlooms and write a proposal. So excuse me, I need to get busy!
|Ernest "Doc" Forbes, Pharmacist, Owl Drugs, Oakland, California|
|Doc Forbes at Owl Drug, Oakland, California|
|We used to have Doc's mortar & pestle at our house when I was a kid. I wonder what happened to that one?|