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Would You Be Disappointed?


GregLaR
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I see many cars are donated to museums over the years, and, in turn, many cars are bought from museums as well.

I can appreciate the museum's point of view having to rotate stock or for need of capital to stay afloat. But wouldn't you be just a little disappointed if you knew the car you'd donated was sold to another collector when you probably could have done that yourself?

I know this is all academic... just sayin'. ;)

Greg

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Seems like many times when the car is offered for sale by the museum, the person who donated it is gone to that big garage in the sky. Even if that is not the case, giving it to the museum may have been seen by the donor as a way to ensure the museum stays in business.  That wish can be continued by the sale of the car with the bonus of getting the car to someone who will enjoy its ownership as much as they did.

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My wife's family donated a beautiful, family heirloom organ from the early 1800s to a local museum. It disappeared. We asked where it went and they said they sold it. The family was VERY upset. I LOANED my vintage radiator cap collection to the local museum. It came back to me when I wanted it to. Lesson learned.

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To me, contributing factors to reducing the appeal of the hobby are donating rare, desirable cars to museums, or hoarding them up into the huge vanity car collections, thus reducing the number of such cars available to individual collectors. I drive all my cars, take them on tours, and enter them in shows. More people see my cars, touch them, sit in them, hear them run and sometimes even ride in them than would ever be the case if they were housed in some museum where "people can see them."      

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16 hours ago, GregLaR said:

I see many cars are donated to museums over the years, and, in turn, many cars are bought from museums as well.

I can appreciate the museum's point of view having to rotate stock or for need of capital to stay afloat. But wouldn't you be just a little disappointed if you knew the car you'd donated was sold to another collector when you probably could have done that yourself?

I know this is all academic... just sayin'. ;)

Greg

There is a "Famous" museum in Pennsylvania were cars were donated for DOUBLE their market value at the time and that it turn was a tax write off, I don't think those owners would give a hoot what happened next. Bob 

Edited by 1937hd45 (see edit history)
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Yes, I would be disappointed if I wanted the car to be seen by people in a museum. I would not be disappointed if I just wanted the museum to get financially ahead with my donation.

 

I wonder when the "Famous" museum in Pennsylvania will sell Dave's Tuckers?☺️

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There   is a "Museum" not to far from me that has a very large percentage of cars that are on consignment.  They do have displays that they apparently own and make no bones about what they are. Charge admission and everything. Nice people and always willing to answer questions and be helpful to other owners of collector cars.

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A lot of cars making it to museums involve a death or a taxable event and the appraisal on the car often offsets the inconvenience (ex. a lot of people really do not like to deal with buyers) and/or timing needed for sale (ex. if you want to offset tax you have until midnight December 31st to capture for that taxable year).    And, if it were not for the donations many a museum would have folded eons ago - it is often their only significant means of survival. 

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My understanding is that the IRS is making it much more difficult these days to inflate the value of a donation, declared value must have some basis in the real world.

 

Also, a museum must keep a donated car for three years for the person taking the "write off" to maintain that deduction, or at least that's my understanding.

 

A lot of museum cars are "on loan", with the museums hoping they get donated.  Or, in the case of the museum in Sacramento, numerous cars are just being stored there, with owner paying $50 or so a month for the storage.

 

But, it is true, once one donates a car to a museum, then there's no guarantee that the museum will keep it.  

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Some states, Wyoming for one, have museum collections & donations laws. They state under what circumstances a museum may de-accession an artifact. Must it be kept forever? Generally, the paperwork for accessioning an item must state whether it's a loan or donation. May it be donated to another museum or sold? Duplications: what if it is one of several similar artifacts...say an 1890 White sewing machine, or a 1970s VW, which the museum has 3 of?  

Edited by jeff_a (see edit history)
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2 hours ago, mercer09 said:

Isn't that nit picking?

 

thats why there is Licespray!

 

Ayyyyyyy!

 

 

As to the above - museums are limited in space most of the time. They can’t take everything in, they can’t keep anything. Over here you can do donations with clauses, but whether the museum accepts the terms is a different matter.

 

Look at the Wright Flyer. If they try and research earlier possible powered flight then they lose it (IIRC?).

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On 2/28/2019 at 2:18 PM, GregLaR said:

I see many cars are donated to museums over the years, and, in turn, many cars are bought from museums as well.

I can appreciate the museum's point of view having to rotate stock or for need of capital to stay afloat. But wouldn't you be just a little disappointed if you knew the car you'd donated was sold to another collector when you probably could have done that yourself?

I know this is all academic... just sayin'. ;)

Greg

 

 

This is a very good question or at least one I've pondered. I don't own what I would call museum quality cars, but I have a survivor Mercury in pretty nice original condition that I would hate to see it fall in the hands of one of the millions of semi-moronic yahoos who think that 24" wheels, dark tinted windows and "ghost flames" would look great on an early 60's 4 door sedan. To insure it's originality after I'm gone, I've wondered if I could donate it to a museum (even the Smithsonian) though it isn't worth tons of money or a real desirable/rare model.

 

Our state's historical society sold a (very original looking) late 40's Chrysler Town and Country exhibit because (according to a friend who worked there) it became too valuable. What a shame. Hopefully it went to another museum. If not, most people don't put ghost flames on Town and Country's, so that's a good thing.

 

You have to wonder how many museums accept donations, cars or otherwise, merely as trading fodder for the stuff they really want. Maybe the donation could be made with the legal stipulation that the car has to go back to the donating owners estate or trust instead of being sold or traded.

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There is one way to make sure a museum cannot sell your donation even after death. You put the car or cars in a perpetual trust with several trustees, whom upon the death of one trustee elect more trustees. Sound complicated? It sure is. But a friend of mine did this with a rare collection of early brass Fords. When one infamous museum couldn't take care of them properly they were moved to another museum. Once you donate or gift something it is no longer yours. There is no contract or agreement that can stop it from being sold again. 

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2 hours ago, Brass is Best said:

There is one way to make sure a museum cannot sell your donation even after death. You put the car or cars in a perpetual trust with several trustees, whom upon the death of one trustee elect more trustees. Sound complicated? It sure is. But a friend of mine did this with a rare collection of early brass Fords. When one infamous museum couldn't take care of them properly they were moved to another museum. Once you donate or gift something it is no longer yours. There is no contract or agreement that can stop it from being sold again. 

Ah, the letter collection that was at the Darned museum in Hershey?  Interesting...

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On ‎2‎/‎28‎/‎2019 at 8:07 PM, hidden_hunter said:

There was a museum that went bust here recently and the rumour was that it was actually just a dealer selling collector cars on consignment and calling it a museum to lower their tax obligations

 

I know at one time that was very common

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On 3/1/2019 at 7:43 PM, trimacar said:

Ah, the letter collection that was at the Darned museum in Hershey?  Interesting...

Many Museums are "Non Profit"  also known as 501 c3 corporations.  It's my understanding that if the sell stuff to other than another 501 c3, that they'll be taxed.  Like most laws, I doubt it's often reported or enforced.  

Edited by Paul Dobbin
spill check (see edit history)
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In our experience virtually all museums will have you sign paperwork before accepting your donation that spells out what they can and cannot do with your vehicle. A museum would be making a mistake if it took your car and agreed to display it in perpetuity.

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Interesting topic.

 

My wife has spent her career in the museum business as a curator at a well-known museum. It is very common for people to misunderstand loans to museums vs. donations to museums. A lot of people think of a museum as being the "forever" home of whatever they are donating...to be maintained and displayed literally forever and then get upset when they learn that is not the case. A good museum will make sure the donor understands that up front:

 

When an object is donated, be it a car or a fountain pen, it's donated - as in you gave it away and relinquished ownership. I'm sure someone can cite an exception, but generally speaking a museum will not accept a donation that comes in with a bunch of strings attached or donor stipulations. If you still want control over "your" object, it's best not to donate it at all and museums often have to tell potential donors that. Loans for a specified display period work better for those people that want to retain control of their objects and where they end up.  

 

Don't confuse a museum for a caretaker in perpetuity, either. That's not something that they can promise, and if they do, donors should be wary. Objects do get sold and traded off on occasion. Museums do go out of business or hit financial hard times that require liquidating assets which can mean selling what you've donated. They are not vaults with unlimited resources to care for your donated things forever.  

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If you own something and want to ensure it will have a chance of being held in high regard into perpetuity the best thing you can do is sell it at the very highest price you can. Make sure the next owner really wants it. I have been forced to do that at times but only for the sake of the item. If I suffer extra money I try to put it into a hobby car or tools (Maybe skim off a little to take my Wife out to dinner).

 

Over the years I have made charitable donations of things not so dear to me. Each time I get the feeling that the recipient expected more, enough times to make me a little less generous

Bernie

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Seems like I remember reading somewhere that Breedlove had loaned one of his land speed record holders to some museum.

The museum wanted to move it into some space that it couldn't be wrangled into so they cut it in half and welded it back together.

Then the family wanted to campaign it again but the car was worthless after the incident.

I think I remember a HUGE lawsuit over that.

Edited by JACK M (see edit history)
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In 1994 I loaned a large Art Glass Collection to a Museum associated with Texas A&M.  A couple of years ago they hired a new director and there focus changed  so I was able to reclaim my collection.  So glad we resisted the pressure to donate it.  Museums are like your kids, if you give them something of value it will probably disappear over time.

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On 3/6/2019 at 2:49 PM, Scooter Guy said:

Interesting topic.

 

My wife has spent her career in the museum business as a curator at a well-known museum. It is very common for people to misunderstand loans to museums vs. donations to museums. A lot of people think of a museum as being the "forever" home of whatever they are donating...to be maintained and displayed literally forever and then get upset when they learn that is not the case. A good museum will make sure the donor understands that up front:

 

When an object is donated, be it a car or a fountain pen, it's donated - as in you gave it away and relinquished ownership. I'm sure someone can cite an exception, but generally speaking a museum will not accept a donation that comes in with a bunch of strings attached or donor stipulations. If you still want control over "your" object, it's best not to donate it at all and museums often have to tell potential donors that. Loans for a specified display period work better for those people that want to retain control of their objects and where they end up.  

 

Don't confuse a museum for a caretaker in perpetuity, either. That's not something that they can promise, and if they do, donors should be wary. Objects do get sold and traded off on occasion. Museums do go out of business or hit financial hard times that require liquidating assets which can mean selling what you've donated. They are not vaults with unlimited resources to care for your donated things forever.  

 

I have a friend who is the Curator of a fast growing nonprofit museum that has a foreseeable future because it has a mission statement to remain relevant and dynamic.

 

He is passionate about what he does and it shows in his work.

 

Any museum is a business and requires money to pay the bills.

 

If I visit a museum and find value - I purchase at least an annual membership.

 

For some museums I provide free or reduced rate transport service.

 

If you find value in a museum - find a way to support it in a manner you can afford.

 

Jim

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4 hours ago, JACK M said:

Seems like I remember reading somewhere that Breedlove had loaned one of his land speed record holders to some museum.

The museum wanted to move it into some space that it couldn't be wrangled into so they cut it in half and welded it back together.

Then the family wanted to campaign it again but the car was worthless after the incident.

I think I remember a HUGE lawsuit over that.

 

https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-breedlove-jet-car-museum-lawsuit-0124-biz-20170120-story.html

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I read the link.

 

Questions I have .....

 

WTH are you doing lettting something that you  ( supposedly )

care about sit in a Museum for (50) years - especially if you never

( apparently ) never bothered to check the condition of it from time to time.

 

The article mentioned a shop estimate for repairs but nowhere 

was it stated that any repairs were ever done.

 

(50) years doing without means you have lost interest.

 

Sounds like a Dash for Cash.

 

I would not have given that guy a Dime .....

 

 

Jm

Edited by Trulyvintage (see edit history)
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I met Breedlove a couple of years ago at a friend's home. Later he dropped in to to my bar/restaurant.

I have to tell you he is one of the nicest guys you'd ever want to meet. Very down to earth and unassuming. No ego and a super positive attitude.

He shared info and a scale model of the new vehicle with me.

 

breedlove.jpg

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One year or fifty years, the museum should have had respect for something this iconic whether they owned it or not.

I have a few things around here that I have had over fifty years and even they have no monetary value and some might consider worthless I still cherish.

Museums, of all entities should know to respect the value of the history of things.

That's cool the you met the man Greg.

I am guessing the photo is at the bar. I want to see it next time I am down there.

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