History FAQs | Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

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History FAQs

Does the History Department appraise artifacts for market value?

Employees of the History Department, as part of the nonprofit museum foundation, are prohibited from appraising artifacts and specimens for market value. Appraisals can be obtained from private dealers and auction houses. For more information go to www.appraisers.org/findappraiser.

Does the History Department accept donations?

History staff will evaluate potential donations on a case-by-case basis according to the relevance of the artifact to the department's mission, similarity to current holdings, and historical value.

What does “Material Culture” mean?

“Material Culture” refers to all the material items collected by the History Department that are three dimensional in form, such as vehicles, machinery, tools, dolls, firearms, and clothing.

What are the differences between the Museum Archives and the Seaver Center for Western History Research?

Both the Museum Archives and the Seaver Center collect two-dimensional items that contain information of enduring historical value, such as letters, photographs, posters, and brochures. However the Museum Archives hold records that reflect the Museum's institutional history, while the Seaver Center holds noncurrent historical records created primary outside of the Museum, by individuals, groups, institutions, and governments.

How are the two-dimensional and three-dimensional artifacts related to each other?

There are many collection areas where there exists the paper documentation (e.g., photographs, bills of sale) to support the objects. For example, the Seaver Center may have a color movie costume sketch (two-dimensional), while Material Culture has the actual costume (three-dimensional).

How is the History Department related to the William S. Hart Museum in Newhall, California?

The History Department maintains the two- and three-dimensional artifacts of the Hart Museum. The two-dimensional items are housed at the Seaver Center and the three-dimensional objects are managed by Material Culture.

Does the History Department have an Anthony automobile?

Yes, the History Department owns a replica of the Anthony automobile made by the donor, Earle C. Anthony, around 1920.