Donating & Collecting

The museum is a general regional museum which aims to cover all aspects of the past of Limerick City and surrounding area, i.e. the Mid-West region.


The museum will collect objects which relate to its aims. The preferred method of acquisition is by gift or purchase, where title to the object is transferred to the museum. In exceptional circumstances, or for exceptional objects, long-term indefinite loans may be accepted.

Loans to the museum will normally be for a defined period and for definite purposes of display, research or education.

The museum will make every effort to ensure that objects acquired for the collection have bona-fide title, and have not been illegally imported into this country or illegally exported from their country of origin.

The museum will collect only those objects for which it can provide adequate care and housing.


Full Policy

It is the policy of the Museum to prioritise the acquisition of archaeological and historical material from or relating to County Limerick. The Museum’s acquisition policy in this regard is an active one and objects are usually acquired through donation or reporting, but also occasionally through purchase.

The Museum seeks to collect objects that are associated with, or help to illustrate the cultural heritage of Limerick with respect to archaeology, social, political and industrial history and folklife. That includes objects made in Limerick, at some point used in Limerick, or otherwise provenanced to Limerick and its associated heritage regardless of location at the time of acquisition.

Limerick museum have gathered over sixty thousand objects since its opening in 1916. As already stated, objects are usually acquired through donation or reporting, but also occasionally through purchase.

The Museum will consider all potential acquisitions and whether they are consistent with its Collections Policy and whether Limerick Museum is the most suitable place for the material. Other considerations made before an object is acquired include: the condition and conservation needs of the object, the potential of displaying the object, the safety of the object if not acquired, and the long term storage and care of the object.

Once an acquisition is formalised, the Museum must obtain immediate physical possession of the object.

All acquisitions are to be outright and unconditional.

All donations to the Museum’s collection are irrevocable upon their formal and physical transfer to the Museum. Once donated, Limerick Museum retains full copyright and ownership of the object. The treatment and display of the object is at the discretion of Limerick Museum.

Objects offered to the museum as donations or bequests will not normally be accepted if they are subject to any special conditions regarding display, etc. In exceptional circumstances, if the Museum Curator feels that the object/s in question are of over-riding importance he/she can approve the acquisition of a specific object to which conditions are attached.

If an object is deemed not to be appropriate for acquisition by the Museum, then alternative options will be outlined to the donor/seller to ensure that the most suitable home for the object is found.

The Museum does not have an acquisitions budget and purchases are only made on occasion when funds permit. Purchases are usually made from auction houses or from individuals. In the case of auctions the Museum will communicate with other public museums, libraries and archives in Ireland to ensure that there is no competition between State institutions. However, finance for acquisitions is mainly reserved for the payment of finder’s rewards, which the Museum is obliged to pay as a designated museum in the case of the discovery of archaeological material in the county. The Museum communicates with the National Museum of Ireland with regard to the discovery of archaeological objects and for advice on the amounts to be paid to finders. If the Museum has difficulty in paying a reward it has the facility of applying to a fund to assist designated museums, administered by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the gaeltacht.

It is the Museum’s policy generally not to accept material on loan from individuals in cases where donation or purchase is clearly the more appropriate option. loans are generally only made for a finite period for exhibition or study purposes. In the case of exhibitions, the Museum recognises that it is preferable 6 to borrow from other publicly funded institutions, before it borrows from private organisations or individuals. Only in very special circumstances will material be accepted on loan for reasons other than exhibition or study, as such loans have an impact on the Museum’s resources and finances and are a liability.

Limerick Museum will abide by any law regarding archaeological sites and artefacts, including the National Monuments Act 1930 and its amendments in 1954, 1987, 1994 and 2004; the National Cultural Institutions Act 1997; and any subsequent Acts that come into law. The Museum recognises the authority of the statutory bodies and their responsibilities.

Where an object is offered as a donation, in good faith, and the prospective donor is uncertain of the identity of the legal owner/s and the Museum is unable to find this out as a result of its own reasonable efforts, the Museum Curator shall be permitted to accept the object, provided a permanent and detailed record of the circumstances and known facts is made at the time of its acceptance.

With regard to biological and geological material, the museum will not acquire by any direct or indirect means, any specimen that has been collected, sold or otherwise transferred in contravention of any national or international wildlife protection or natural history conservation law of the Republic of Ireland or any other country, except with the express consent of an appropriate outside authority.

The acquisition of objects is to a certain extent, determined by the availability of suitable storage space, as mentioned above. Where the acquisition of any object would result in significant implications in respect of storage, conservation or display and/or significant financial implications the matter will be referred to an external professional party for advice. The Museum will generally not acquire objects that the Museum Director considers to be impractical to house in the Museum’s existing limited storage facilities.

The Museum will not acquire an object or objects that the Curator considers to be impractical to house in the Museum’s existing limited storage facilities.

As the Museum does not have a conservator on its staff, it will not acquire objects where there is a conservation need that would have a cost implication beyond the means of the Museum.

It is the Museum’s policy to keep all files relating to acquisitions and possible acquisitions up-to-date on an on-going basis. Museum staff will complete all documentation relevant to its acquisitions, including entry forms, acquisitions forms, and any additional documents that may need to be completed in order to transfer the title of an object at the time an object’s acquisition. All correspondence and completed forms are filed together in a fire-proof filing cabinet on-site.

The Museum practices preventative conservation and all objects are kept in environments suitable to their material and condition. The Museum endeavors to have any objects that are acquired which are in need of urgent treatment professionally conserved as a matter of priority. It is the practice of Limerick Museum to consult with the National Museum of Ireland before the conservation of artefacts takes place. licenses will be applied for before any archaeological object is conserved.

The security of the collection is a priority for the Museum. The entire collection is kept on-site within the Museum building. The storage facilities are locked at all times and all artefacts on display, with the exception of some large heavy objects, are kept in locked glass cases. The galleries and storage areas are alarmed and the alarm system is monitored permanently by a security company. Any person who wishes to access the storage facilities must sign in and out and must be accompanied by a member of staff.

The Museum endeavors to give as much access to the collection as is safe to do so considering its staffing and space constraints. Currently all objects in the collection, with the exception of any that may be on loan, are available to researchers and members of the public for examination by appointment. The Museum only permits material to be examined within the Museum building during normal working hours and under staff supervision. A person who may require extensive access to the collection may be required to present a letter of reference and must give at least one month’s notice before the intended period of research.