Impact The Future Of History

The Gilmore Car Museum is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and we rely solely on the generosity of donors and lenders who gift us vehicles, contextual artifacts, library and archive items, or provide funds toward our operations, education, and collection maintenance. To date, the Gilmore collection consists of over 250 vehicles, 7,500 transportation relation artifacts, and over 100,000 library and archival items. Collection items are rotated through exhibits in order to help us tell the story of transportation in America.

Interested in Donating or Loaning Your Vehicle to the Museum?

To maintain the integrity of our collections, the Gilmore Car Museum has a Collections Review Committee consisting of dedicated people who carefully evaluate each offered item. They meet once each month to review all offers and will consider an object’s overall condition, rarity, originality, authenticity, history, and provenance.

If you wish to loan us your vehicle or motorcycle for display in the Gilmore Car Museum, standard loan agreements are for a minimum of one year. Click here to view our loan terms and conditions.

If you are interested in donating your vehicle, motorcycle, or transportation related artifact to the Gilmore Car Museum, please click here to view our donation terms and conditions. If your donation is accepted by the Collections Review Committee, your gift will be considered a tax-deductible donation. Due to IRS requirements and non-profit regulations, the Gilmore Car Museum is unable to provide a Museum Membership in exchange for your donation to our collection.

Items will be accepted for the Museum’s Collection if they fall within the scope of the Museum’s Mission and can be managed with available resources. If items fall outside of these parameters, donors may still support the collection and receive recognition by making an unrestricted gift for resale purposes. Proceeds from these sales will go directly to supporting the collection by providing funds to further our preservation efforts.

For information about our policies, procedures, collections review committee, or tax deductible donations, please view our General Information – Collections Policies & Procedures document.

To submit an item for review, please click one of the links below to download and complete an application:

Collection Application – Vehicles

Collection Application – Motorcycles

Collection Application – Artifacts

Frequently Asked Questions about the Museum’s Collection

Does the museum purchase vehicles, motorcycles, or artifacts?
No, the museum’s budget does not support the purchase of vehicles or other automotive-related items, our collection is comprised of items that are on loan or have been donated. There are several local, regional, and national magazines in which you can list your classic car for sale.  The internet also offers a variety of options for selling your vintage car. We do not have a list of people or organizations that purchase vehicles.

Do you loan or rent museum vehicles for off-site displays or events?
The museum is rarely able to accommodate requests to display vehicles at off-site events due to aspects of the vehicle’s care and because of limited staffing and resources to transport vehicles to such events. The museum does not rent vehicles for chauffeur purposes.

Do you consider only vehicles for loan or donation to the museum?
We are happy to consider all automotive-related items for loan or donation including motorcycles, transportation-related artifacts, or era-related context artifacts.

How long is a typical loan to the museum?
Standard loan agreements will not exceed two years. The loan may be renewed for additional time at the discretion of both parties. It is the obligation of the Gilmore Car Museum to request extension or renewal of the loan. The museum does not sign long-term or “permanent” loans.

Does the museum accept donations with restrictions?
No, the museum will not be able to accept any items with restrictions that could prohibit the use, display, or sale of the item.

Does it matter what condition my vehicle is in?
The Collections and Exhibits Committee will determine if your loan or donation is suitable for our use. The condition of the vehicle or item alone does not determine its acceptance. If your vehicle or item is accepted, museum representatives reserve the last right of refusal upon reviewing any items in person.

Will the museum accept my unfinished restoration project?
Occasionally project vehicles and motorcycles are accepted by our Gilmore Garage Works student/mentorship program. If you have a vehicle that fits this description that you would like to offer to the program, please contact Fred Colgren, Director of Education.

Is my donation tax deductible?
The GILMORE CAR MUSEUM is a 501c3 non-profit organization incorporated under the laws of the state of Michigan and as such you may be able to claim the “fair market value” of your non-cash donation to the museum as a tax deduction. Every donor will receive a donation letter, an official Deed of Gift, and IRS Form 8282 in acknowledgement of their donation. We encourage you to consult your tax adviser and to review the IRS Publication 4303: A Donor’s Guide to Vehicle Donations.

How do I determine the value of my non-cash donation? Do I need to have my vehicle appraised?
It is the responsibility of the donor to determine the Fair Market Value of your gift to the museum. The IRS rules that any vehicle valued over $5,000 need to be appraised. The Museum is not able to provide an appraisal for donors as the IRS considers such activity a conflict of interest. We can provide a list of local and national appraisal services upon request.

Will I receive a museum membership in exchange for my donation?
Due to IRS tax deduction restrictions and non-profit regulations, the Gilmore Car Museum is unable to provide any goods or services in exchange for your donation. This includes complimentary memberships, passes, etc.

How is my loan or donation credited when it is on display at the museum?
All vehicles and motorcycles will be displayed with an informational exhibit sign which includes donor/lender information. Signs can be customized to include important details such as “in memory of” or “in honor of” as well.

How do I start the loan or donation process?
The first step is to fill out and submit an application for your object, along with recent and detailed photographs of the object in question. Applications are available for vehicles, motorcycles, and artifacts. A member of our Collections and Exhibits staff will be in contact with you soon after your submission to confirm your application. Your application will then be reviewed at our monthly Collections and Exhibits Meeting and a member of our staff will contact you regarding the status of your application.

How often does the Collections and Exhibits Committee meet to review loan and donation offers?
The committee currently meets on the last Monday of every month. A member of our staff will be in contact regarding the status of your application within 3 business days of the meeting.

Why wasn’t my vehicle accepted for your collection?
Please understand that we cannot accept everything people wish to donate. Adding items to our collection is a serious responsibility. Donations must fulfill the museum’s mission and the Museum must be able to care for, exhibit, and store the items it accepts.

If accepted, what documentation is needed to complete my loan or donation?
For loans, we require proof of insurance from the vehicle owner and a signed Loan Form, which is provided by the museum. For donations, we require a signed vehicle title in the name of the donor without a lien and a signed Deed of Gift, which is provided by the museum.

How will my donation to the museum be used?
It is the museum’s intent to use all donated vehicles, motorcycles, and artifacts for interpretive display and/or educational purposes. However, not all items are able to always be on display and items often rotate and may be stored for some time. In the rare instance that an item is identified as a duplicate item, or non-relevant to the museum’s collection, the item may be sold.

Will my donation always be on display?
While we would like to display every item donated to us, we cannot guarantee that it will be exhibited. While the museum’s exhibit space spans over 189,000 square feet, telling the vast story of automotive history requires us to often rotate vehicles and display items, meaning that a percentage of the collection is in storage at any given time.

Additional Questions? Please contact:

Emily Reed, Collections Registrar
ereed@gilmorecarmuseum.org / 269-671-5089, ext. 28