A complete copy of the most up to date Collections Policy Manual as approved by the Society's board can be found HERE. Our policies are reviewed by the board in association with staff every five years. You can find answers to Frequently Asked Questions below. If you have further questions about our policies and their implementation at the Museum, please Contact Us.

Frequently Asked Questions

I have a relative who used to live in Summerland. Do you have more information on them?

We might! We have research files compiled for many Summerland families as well as thousands of photos and a database of obituary records. Our archives also contain land registry and tax records, school yearbooks, and copies of the Summerland Review, just to name a few. Refer to our Research page for options on staff conducted and self-guided research as well as fees. The more information you have on family members (alternative names, years they were here, professions, etc), the better chance we have of finding them!

Do you have more information on an old house in Summerland?

There is a very good chance that we do. We have a thorough list of heritage houses organized according to geographic location (Trout Creek, Prairie Valley, etc.) and address (house number and street). You can also take a look at our list of Summerland Heritage Buildings for information and photos of twenty-six buildings acknowledged by the Heritage Advisory Committee and the Summerland Museum as one of the annual "heritage homes."

I want to donate an artifact/photo/documents to the museum. What do I do?

The Museum is always on the look out for objects and archival materials that help to tell the story of Summerland. If you have items that you wish to donate to the Museum, check the criteria below to make sure that it fits into our collecting mandate. If you're not sure or if you have questions, please contact us and we will be happy to answer any questions! 

You can offer the museum a donation by contacting us by phone, email, or mail. Be prepared to tell us about what the item(s) are and any other information you know about them. A large part of the value of the items of the collection comes from the stories we can tell with them. The more you can share with us about an item and its connection to Summerland, the easier it is for us to find a place for it in our collection and the better we can share it with the public!

After you get in touch with us, staff will let you know what the next steps are. All of the decisions for which items we accept into the collection are done by our Collections Committee (see below), and the process does take time, so please be patient with us, and get in touch long before you need the attic to be empty!

If the item(s) you have don't have a direct connection to Summerland, but you still want them to be used, you can donate them directly to our Education Collection. This collection contains items that we use in our educational programming and are meant to be used directly by visitors and students.

What types of objects/archives does the museum collect? 

The Summerland Museum collects artifacts, photographs, and documents of significance to the Summerland District, particularly those which were made, used, or have particular pertinence to Summerland residents, businesses, societies, government, schools, churches, clubs, organizations etc. Items are considered for entry into the Museum's permanent collection based on the following criteria:

  • The accepted item must be relevant to the collections mandate.

  • Documentation and provenance (the history of the item) must be available.

  • The condition of the item must be reasonable. The object will pose no danger or harm to staff or to other objects in the collection.

  • Staff knowledge and storage are sufficient to properly care for the object.

  • Conditional terms or donations with conditions will not be accepted.

  • Duplicates will not be accepted unless with particularly relevant provenance.

  • The donor must demonstrate clear legal title, including physical title as well as intellectual rights and/or copyright. Due diligence is to be made that the object has not been illegally obtained.

  • Any objects definitely or likely recovered from an archeological site must have a documented provenance pre-dating 1970.

  • The Museum is considered the most appropriate institution to acquire the object over the interests of other collecting institutions.

  • The item will not result in major expenses (conservation/maintenance) in the foreseeable future that the Museum will be incapable of fulfilling.

  • The display or exhibit of a particular object is not guaranteed.

  • If a donor proposes to donate an intact collection, the Museum accepts only those objects that are suitable for inclusion in its collections.

Although SMAS will consider acquiring all objects pertinent to its collection mandate, priorities include:

  • Items of which there is no previous type within our collections.

  • Items associated with a particular cultural group or topic for which there is little material record (e.g. minority populations).

Acquisitions under consideration for accession shall enhance the SMAS’ collections by meeting at least two of the following standards:

  1. Relevance: The object supports the Museum’s goals and provides information about Summerland.

  2. Historical Significance: The object is associated with people, events, and places in Summerland or is of technical importance to the development of Summerland. Objects will also be of such quality, rarity, or of extreme intellectual value to support acquisition.

  3. Aesthetics: Of high aesthetic quality.

Who makes the decision about what items you accept into the Museum's collection?

Decisions about whether to accept items into our collection are made by our Collections Committee. This committee is made up of five individuals including representatives from our board, our membership, and our staff. They meet regularly to decide what new items to accept into our collection.


Research Use policy

The Summerland Museum and Archives allows access to its collections through the presentation of exhibitions, loans to other institutions, publications, and through the website. SMAS also supports research and study through access to its collections and archival holdings on site at the Museum. While the majority of materials in the custody of SMAS are open to research without restrictions, in some cases access to sensitive materials may be restricted. The Museum reserves the right to refuse access to its collection and research areas to any individual misusing the collection or behaving in a manner contrary to the Museum’s goals and ethics.

Conditions of Access

The Summerland Museum and Archives will make all reasonable attempts to provide requested material for research use; however, this ability is contingent on ongoing collections organization efforts and is not guaranteed. Access to and use of the collection is at the discretion of Museum staff and is generally provided to any person who can demonstrate a need.

Determining factors include:

  • Condition of the artifact or specimen

  • Risk to the artifact or specimen

  • Location

  • Security

  • Health and safety risks

  • Copyright

  • Intended use

  • Expertise of the enquirer

  • Human and financial resources available

Although all requests will be considered, to best ensure access to requested materials, researchers are encouraged to contact the Summerland Museum at least one week prior to visiting to set up an appointment.

All researchers must abide by the RESEARCH AREA RULES.

Research Access and Use

The Summerland Museum does not employ a full-time researcher, and staff at the Museum will only complete public research requests contingent on the availability of appropriate staff time and resources.  Any research conducted by staff beyond an initial 20 minute period will be charged at a flat hourly rate.

In the interests of keeping to an educational mandate, the Summerland Museum offers non-commercial use of its collections at a discounted fee.

All research requests must be clearly made in writing. The Research Request Form and fees can be found HERE and sent to archives@summerlandmuseum.org.


permission for use policy

The Summerland Museum permits the reproduction of archival and photographic materials in its collection that are the property of the Museum. This service is available under the following conditions:

  • The intended use for copied materials must be stated when the request is made as part of the PERMISSION FOR USE APPLICATION. The application must be completed in its entirety and signed by both parties before the request can be processed.

  • Staff will approve reproduction requests and assign appropriate fees according to the fee structure.

  • Photographs and documents deemed too fragile or sensitive to light will not be copied or photographed.

  • A 50% deposit will be paid by the requesting party before a work order is issued.

  • The Summerland Museum and Archives must be credited for any use of its collection.

  • Reproduction is permitted for one-time use only. Subsequent or different use of an image, including subsequent editions or printings, constitutes reuse and requires renegotiation and repayment.

  • Anyone found infringing upon these conditions, or acting against the best interests of the Museum, will not be allowed future access to the Museum’s archival collections.

  • Fees will be used by the Summerland Museum to support activities of collecting, preserving, and making its photographic holdings available.


collections policy

Our Collections Policy Manual can be found HERE.