The acquisition of private archival material is done through the donation of personal records by the creator(s) or their estate.
To donate records, contact the Acquisitions Archivist at the University of Manitoba. If the records fall within the Archives’ mandate and the archives have long term research value, the archivist may then ask to personally examine the records in question. This examination could take place wherever the records may be stored, or the creator or designate may bring in a sample of the papers to the Archives. The archivist will examine the archives noting their quality, which could include breadth (time span), completeness and depth, and condition (state of preservation or deterioration). Once it is decided that the University of Manitoba is indeed the proper place for these papers (and we can give advice to prospective donors if this is not the case), two Deeds of Gift are signed first by the donor(s) and their witness, then by the university.
This Deed of Gift outlines the responsibilities of each party in terms of ownership, copyright and access. In broad terms, the Archives becomes the owner and copyright holder of the material and in turn promises to store and protect the archives in an acceptable manner and regulate public access to them. Generally speaking, the donor must agree to have the papers open to research, but may stipulate that certain sections be “restricted” or closed to the public for a pre-determined length of time. The transfer of copyright ownership usually means that the papers donated will be those for which no further publication is being considered.
Once the Deed of Gift is signed, the records must be boxed. Archives staff will arrange for transportation of the boxes, at the Archives’ expense, to the Elizabeth Dafoe Library. Here the papers will be stored in environmentally sound conditions to be later sorted, arranged, and eventually described and publicized, including summaries and file lists mounted on the Archives website. Some records may be destroyed after careful examination. These include duplicates, copies and commonly distributed printed materials.
Donated collections are eligible for tax credits under the “Income Tax Act”. Each separate group of papers and the accompanying descriptions are examined and evaluated by members of the National Archives Appraisal Board (NAAB) in December of each year, who determine its value on the open market and in relationship to similar collections which have been previously donated to a public institution in Canada. Income tax receipts are issued by the University usually in February following the year in which the records were donated. Especially significant donations may be considered for designation as Canadian “Cultural Property,” which may translate into further tax advantages for the donor or the estate.
To know what records to donate or not to donate, please consult the applicable guidelines:
Want to make a monetary donation to the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections? You can use this online form.