Donations

The mission of the Mahwah Museum Archives and Library is to support the Museum’s mission of documenting and sharing the history of the town and region by collecting, preserving, and making available for use, records pertaining to the region now known as Mahwah, New Jersey, Bergen County, surrounding regions in New Jersey and New York, and to residents, businesses and organizations of these towns.

The Archive’s goal is to make its holdings available to Museum staff and the public. Materials that have restricted use will only be accepted if there are reasonable limits placed on use; either a date after which the materials can be accessed, or an understanding that scholars can use materials if they do not include names.

Once materials are donated to the Archive, they may be used in physical exhibits, scanned and placed on the Museum’s digital archive, moved to another part of the Museum’s collection, sold, or may be deaccessioned if they no longer meet the Museum’s mission.

We could not fulfill our mission without the support of the community. We have built our archive through the generous donations of the community over the past fifty years. But we cannot take everything. Space at the museum is tight and off site storage is expensive.

If you are considering making a donation, please see our policies below.

Please do not leave anonymous donations outside our door!  We are more likely to keep donations if we understand the connection that they had with the town and if we know what those items are. Each donated item is also evaluated to determine how well it meets our mission. Anonymous donations cannot be properly catalogued or cared for.

Donations of Train Materials:

The Donald Cooper model railroad exhibit is quickly reaching its maximum storage capacity. If you would like to donate model trains, or train related materials please contact us before bringing any materials to the Museum. Call at 201.512.0099 or email railroad@mahwahmuseum.org and describe what you woudld like to donate.  We can then check it against our inventory, and decide if we can accept it.

Donations to the Les Paul Collection:
 
We will accept donations that have a direct relationship to Les Paul such as photographs, recordings, video performances, and programs.
Instruments, sound and recording equipment and any autographed memorabilia will be required to be authenticated before being accepted.

Donations of Historical Artifacts:

Civil Defense helmet

We accept donations of clothing, bedding, flags, furniture, artworks, archeological findings, household items, business artifacts, and other ephemera of life in Mahwah and the surrounding region. Space is limited, so we need to seriously consider how likely it is that we can display or exhibit the artifacts before accepting them. Please contact us at archives@mahwahmuseum.org if you have historical artifacts that you would like to donate. If we cannot accept them, we will do our best to find a suitable museum that can take them.

Donations of Photographs or Documents:

The archive collects material pertaining to Mahwah (including Hohokus Township before 1949) that document:

  • Government
  • Businesses
  • Clubs and Community Organizations
  • Schools
  • Churches
  • Families
  • Individuals
  • Parks and Land Resources

We also collect material related to the local region, but suggest that materials that document other towns where there is a library or historical society that focuses on that town is a better location for the donation.

The Archive accepts materials in a variety of formats, including manuscripts, paper records, correspondence, reports, minutes, financial records, personnel records, plans, brochures, flyers, photographs, pictures, films, audio tapes, maps, drawings, post cards, newspaper clippings, oral histories, and genealogical records.

The Archive accepts materials in digitized format. If you have historical photographs that you do not want to part with, we would be happy to scan them here and return the originals to you.

If you are donating already digitized materials, we can only accept them if we have the hardware or software needed to access the files; otherwise we recommend that you  print or convert the files to a format that can be used beforehand. In such cases, please contact the archivist at archives@mahwahmuseum.org for help finding conversion services.

Newspapers

Just a few of the clippings and newspapers held by the Museum.

Some old New Jersey newspapers are available online through commercial services, but many local papers are not. We accept newspaper clippings about Mahwah history and the history of the region and whole newspapers if they have not been digitized elsewhere. We do not collect non-local newspapers or clippings.

Donations of Books:

Our Library collection accepts published works regarding Mahwah history, the history of the region, its peoples, and on topics relating to its archival materials, including, but not limited to:

  • Histories of New Jersey and New York State
  • Histories of Bergen County and Northwestern Bergen Country towns
  • Maps of the region
  • Railroads in Northern New Jersey
  • Ford Motor Company
  • American Brake Shoe and Foundry/ABEX
  • Ramapo College of New Jersey
  • Les Paul

We cannot accept books that are in poor or damaged condition, especially if they are obtainable elsewhere. Books damaged by mold, mildew, pests, or water cannot  be accepted due to the risk they post to the rest of the Library’s collection.

What We Cannot Take:

We cannot accept materials that are damaged from mold, mildew, water, insects, smoke or dirt as these may migrate to other portions of the collection.

We also cannot accept materials that we cannot properly store, display, or care for. We would be happy to help you find a more appropriate home for such materials.

Contact:

If you would like to donate artifacts, books, materials or documents that fit the above stated criteria please contact the museum by calling 201.512.0099 or emailing archives@mahwahmuseum.org with a brief description of your items, as well as a brief description of their condition.