Collection Objects for Transfer

The Heritage Division has established a process whereby deaccessioned items may be transferred to institutions that share our goal of exhibiting, interpreting and preserving historical objects.

Making Objects Available for Other Institutions

Information on available objects is posted on our website. Interested organizations are required to provide information to help assess their suitability. If the applicant meets the criteria, the object will be permanently transferred in accordance with the Heritage Division’s Collections Policy.

Every reasonable effort is made to keep the objects in the public domain. For this reason, only publicly-accessible non-profit organizations may request an object. First priority is given to institutions in Alberta, and secondly in Canada. Private individuals and private agencies are ineligible to apply.

Information is posted on for at least 30 days. Organizations interested in acquiring any of the listed objects must complete a Request Form and e-mail it to the staff member indicated. Applicants are encouraged to apply early. Specific questions can also be directed to the staff contact provided.

After the closing date, applications will be assessed on the organization’s commitment to keep the object in the public domain, and to actively use and care for it. Should multiple applications be made for an object, the information on the request form will be used to select the most appropriate recipient. All applications will be carefully considered.

All applicants will be advised of the final decision. Transfer decisions are at the Heritage Division’s sole discretion and decisions are final. Recipients must sign a Transfer Agreement, transferring legal ownership from the Heritage Division to the successful organization. Recipients are responsible for packing and transportation costs, and for removing the object from the Division’s premises within 60 days of the approval of transfer.

If there are no qualified applicants or no expressions of interest after the closing date, the application deadline may be extended or the object may be disposed of by other means.

Objects Currently Available for Transfer

There are no objects currently available for transfer. Please check this page regularly for updates.

  • Transfer Request Form
    To download this form to your desktop, right-click on the file and choose “Save Link As…” (“Save Target As…” for Internet Explorer users).

Deaccession and Disposition

The Heritage Division is responsible for millions of objects that represent Alberta’s cultural, scientific, natural, social, technological and political history. They include nine million cultural artifacts, two million scientific specimens and millions of archival records. The collections are acquired, maintained, preserved and held in trust for Albertans.

While the Division acquires collections with the intent of holding them permanently, there are circumstances when removing an object can strengthen the collection. The occasional disposition is an accepted and essential part of professional collections management.

The vast majority of objects remain permanently in the collections. The Division removes an extremely small proportion of items, and then only under exceptional circumstances. Deaccession and disposition require careful consideration. Such decisions are part of a collecting plan based on the object’s significance and legal status, as well as consideration of any potential erosion of public trust. Tracking, maintaining and storing inappropriate objects also uses valuable resources that could be better spent on acquisitions or managing the collections.

An object may be removed from the collections if it is:

  • Not aligned with the Division’s mandate, goals or collecting priorities
  • Not significant or of lesser quality than similar objects in the collection
  • Incomplete, damaged or has deteriorated beyond any useful purpose
  • Incorrectly or poorly documented, or a copy, forgery or fake
  • Duplicate or over-representative of certain type of item
  • Hazardous to people and/or other objects
  • Unable to be properly cared for by the Division

Once the decision is made to remove an object, staff follow explicit written principles and policies that comply with professional standards. Objects may be disposed of by the following methods (in order of preference):

  1. Transferral to other divisional facilities
  2. Transferral to, or exchange with, a public, non-profit heritage or other appropriate institution
  3. Sale at public auction, or to another not-for-profit heritage or appropriate institution
  4. Destruction because the object has deteriorated or is damaged beyond repair, poses a danger to people or the collections, is used to acquire new information through destructive analysis, or cannot be disposed of by other means

Objects are not deaccessioned or disposed of at the request of the donor or seller, nor are they returned to them after deaccessioning. Should an object be sold, the net proceeds are placed in the Historic Resources Fund and used exclusively for new acquisitions or collections care.

Working Collections acquired for scientific processing or analysis are not subject to the same disposition requirements.

Last reviewed/revised: November 1, 2017
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