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Object ID Program Policies

Object ID Program Policies

Effective April 2008

The Object Identification Program provides a basic IDENTIFICATION of an object, to the best of our abilities and knowledge. We will not provide authentication or appraisal of an object's value or condition.

We only identify items in specific areas of staff expertise in archaeology, ethnology, biology, paleontology, and geology.

  • We may not always be able to identify an item, and reserve the right to refuse to accept or identify an object at any time at our discretion.
  • We will not identify coins/money, weapons, artwork, written documents, antiques, or other historical items.

We will identify up to 3 objects PER FAMILY/GROUP of visitors at a time, with a total limit of 12 objects per family per calendar year.

Objects must be left at the museum in order to be identified; Science Learning Division staff cannot identify objects in person on the floor.

  • You will be given a receipt that you must use to reclaim your object(s).
  • Identifications take on average 2-6 weeks.
  • You will receive a phone call when your item(s) has been identified. You may then pick up your item. Items left over sixty (60) day will be thrown away unless other arrangements are made.

Donations of objects to the museum's collections are not automatically accepted.

  • Objects offered for donation to the museum's collections must go through a separate evaluation process.
  • Objects given to or left at the museum may be thrown away.
  • There is a difference between donations to the museum's permanent collections, the Education Collection and donations to the Collectors' Corner/trading program. Please ask for an explanation if you have questions about donations.

We do not mark, sample, destroy, or perform any other type of action beyond the normal handling required for visible observation of objects brought in for identification.

  • Exception: We may conduct streak, hardness, or acid tests on rock and mineral specimens to help identify them. These tests, if necessary, will be done in an inconspicuous area and will not damage the specimen.
  • Objects with the potential for harboring pests may be frozen. Some biological specimens, if frozen, may deteriorate or be destroyed when thawed.

Objects will remain at the Science Museum of Minnesota while they are being identified and will not be taken outside the facility for identification or work by others.

Disclaimer: While the museum makes every reasonable effort to insure the safety of objects left for identification as part of the Object Identification Program, the owner accepts full responsibility for the action of leaving the object(s) for identification and will hold the museum harmless in case of damage or loss. The owner is responsible for reclaiming the object within sixty (60) days of receiving notification of the results of the identification. The museum reserves the right to dispose of objects not claimed within sixty days following notification unless other arrangements are made.

Contact the Science Learning Division at or (651) 221-9435 if you have any questions.