How can I get an image of a museum object?
Contact the Ohio Historical Society’s Digital Services department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 614-297-2530. Be sure to include the catalog number of the object that interests you. There may be costs and fees associated with your request that vary with intended use.
Can I arrange to see an object from the museum collections if it is in storage?
In most cases, yes you can. Please contact the History Services department at email@example.com or 614-297-2535. There are limitations based upon the condition and size of the object of interest. Additionally, many objects are on display at OHS sites.
Can I take my own photographs of museum objects?
Yes, you can take photographs of objects on display for personal use. If you make an appointment to see a museum object in storage, you are also allowed to take photographs. There may be costs and fees associated with your photography request that vary with intended use.
Can OHS staff tell me how much an object is worth?
For ethical and professional reasons Historical Society staff cannot provide monetary values of historical materials. Please click here for more information about finding an appraiser.
Where can I get information or assistance to preserve objects?
The Ohio Historical Society’s history curators can answer questions about the proper storage, handling, and cleaning of historical objects. See our Speakers Bureau page if you would like to have one of our history curators speak to your organization about the basics of object care.
Additionally, a great deal of credible information about the care of historical materials is available on the world wide web. See our conservation page for links to our favorite online conservation resources. If you have an item that is damaged you need to consult a professional conservator. We have compiled a list of reputable conservators.
Can objects from the Ohio Historical Society’s collections be borrowed for exhibit by other organizations?
Yes, OHS regularly loans objects and documents from our collections to other organizations for exhibit. Please click here for more information about placing a loan request.
Are all of the Ohio Historical Society’s museum objects on exhibit?
A large portion of the Ohio Historical Society’s museum objects are on display at the Ohio Historical Center in Columbus or the Society’s network of 58 historic sites throughout the state. When objects are not on display they are stored in the Society’s highly secure, temperature controlled collections facility. They can be seen by appointment with the collections staff or by participating in a collections facility tour. It is necessary to rotate items on and off exhibit for their long term preservation.
What happens to objects that are donated to the Ohio Historical Society?
They are preserved long term for the education and enjoyment of all Ohioans. They are available for use in exhibits and educational programs at the Ohio Historical Center in Columbus and the Society’s network of 58 sites across the state. If they are not on exhibit, they can be seen by making an appointment with a curator or participating in a collections facility tour. Information describing objects can be found in the Society’s Online Collection Catalog and images of a growing number of objects are accessible through the Ohio Memory digital repository.
Are you accepting new donations of museum objects?
Yes, the Ohio Historical Society curators are continually seeking quality objects to add to the museum collections. When evaluating objects for the Society’s collections the most important question is how the item relates to Ohio history. Curators also consider the physical condition, storage needs, provenance, and rarity of the pieces. We are interested in materials that document Ohio from early statehood to the present. Offers to donate items that illustrate recent history are very welcome. Please click here for more information.
Do you ever purchase objects for the museum collections?
The Ohio Historical Society has limited funds available for the purchase of museum objects and occasionally acquires items from auctions and private individuals. Please click here for more information.
I received a fossilized bone or piece of scrimshaw (carved whale or walrus bone or teeth) how can I determine if it is real?
Many companies produce incredibly authentic looking pieces of fossilized bone and scrimshaw. Many of these pieces are made from molds of actual bones or teeth. Often the originals exist in museum and private collections around the world.
An easy first step is to use clues from the designs on the piece itself to see if other reproductions match what you have. For example, an internet search for “whale tooth Charles W. Morgan” brings up a number of pieces of antique scrimshaw, modern scrimshaw, and faux scrimshaw. If you are able to find a piece identical to yours, you know that the piece was copied in the past and, unless you are at a museum or gallery, what you likely have is a reproduction.
What if you cannot find a match for your bone or scrimshaw? Please contact us we would love to help you learn more about your artifact.