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Historic New Harmony’s collection consists of approximately 2,800 objects. These objects are primarily 19th century decorative arts, furniture, prints, medical equipment, and textiles. In addition, Historic New Harmony maintains an extensive archive of photographs, slides, maps, books, and manuscript collections that document New Harmony throughout its history.

On the historic tour of New Harmony, you will encounter pieces of Historic New Harmony’s collection. These objects may include: prints by Karl Bodmer in the Maximilian-Bodmer Exhibit and pieces of Harmonist pottery from an archaeological excavation in the David Lenz House.

Not only are the objects inside these buildings a part of the collection, the buildings themselves are important pieces in preserving Harmonist history. While in New Harmony, take a look at the Salomon Wolf House’s outer brick walls. In the 1970’s, these bricks were starting to visibly deteriorate. In an effort to save the original Harmonist structure, the bricks were turned around so the once inside walls now face the outside.

FAQs about donating objects to Historic New Harmony

Does Historic New Harmony accept unsolicited gifts or bequests of artifacts or other historical materials?

Yes. Historic New Harmony welcomes and solicits donations when such donations support the needs of the collections and the mission of the organization. As not all historic items assist in the interpretation of the town’s two communal experiments, Historic New Harmony reserves the right to reject, prior to receipt, or to dispose of, after receipt, any materials deemed inappropriate for the collections.

Who do I contact to make a donation?

Please contact Historic New Harmony by email at or call 812-682-4488 to discuss your potential gift or bequest. (Please do not drop-off or send objects without contacting us first. We want to make sure that your potential gift is properly identified and cared for.)

Is my donation tax deductible?

Artifact donations may be deductible for tax purposes. Potential donors should consult their tax advisors for further information. If a tax deduction is planned, the donation must be appraised at the donor’s expense before being shipped to Historic New Harmony.

Will Historic New Harmony provide an appraisal for potential donations?

No. Under present tax laws, establishing the donation value for tax purposes is the responsibility of the donor. Historic New Harmony staff may not, as an interested party, provide an appraisal.

What happens to an artifact after I offer it for donation to Historic New Harmony?

All objects offered for donation must go through a process of examination and review.

  • Please provide as much information as possible about the objects. It is especially helpful if you first send photographs of the material for consideration as Historic New Harmony cannot accept all donations. A temporary receipt is issued when depositing objects for consideration.
  • After contact with the Collections Manager, the Collection Review Committee will meet to review the objects. Those not accepted will be returned to the donor. Limited storage space, duplication of objects in the collection, and the condition of the offered piece influence Historic New Harmony’s decision to accept an object.
  • If accepted, the donor will receive Deed of Gift paperwork which transfers legal title of the gift to Historic New Harmony.
  • All donated artifacts are numbered, photographed, and cataloged in our database. Artifacts are carefully stored in climate controlled facilities and in acid free materials.

Will Historic New Harmony display my artifact?

Perhaps. While Historic New Harmony strives to create new and exciting exhibits incorporating various artifacts in accordance with its mission statement, the lack of sufficient exhibition spaces make displaying every artifact impractical. Artifacts chosen for exhibition must support the exhibit’s underlying educational purpose. While some artifacts may never be seen in an exhibit, they may prove invaluable to researchers. Therefore, Historic New Harmony cannot guarantee any artifact will be displayed either temporarily or permanently.

Does Historic New Harmony ever sell artifacts?

Artifacts in the permanent collections of Historic New Harmony should be retained in perpetuity if they continue to be relevant and useful to the purpose and activities of the institution, and if they can be properly stored and preserved. When these conditions no longer prevail, artifacts may be deaccessioned from the permanent collections.

The procedure for disposing of artifacts is explicitly described in Historic New Harmony’s Collections Management Policy. Artifacts will not be given or sold privately to Historic New Harmony employees, foundation members, board members, volunteers, original donors or any individual. Disposal of artifacts shall be through one of the following methods:

  • Transfer to Historic New Harmony’s educational collections for related use
  • Sale, exchange, or gift to another nonprofit public museum
  • Sale at public auction
  • Witnessed destruction

Proceeds from the sale of artifacts are placed in a special account with the funds restricted for other artifact acquisitions or professional conservation care of objects already in Historic New Harmony’s permanent collections.

Are Historic New Harmony’s resources available to researchers?

Yes. The resources of Historic New Harmony are available to researchers, but there are fees assessed for certain services such as photograph or document reproduction. Please contact for more information. 

Other questions? Contact us at 812-682-4488 or