Collections Our Policy

Our Policy

The Thomasville History Center seeks to document the history of Thomas County and Thomasville, Georgia, by collecting documents, records, printed material, photographs, artifacts, memorabilia, and audio-visual materials. The History Center actively seeks materials which will enhance the present collection and strengthen collection weaknesses.

The collections of the History Center are available to members and to the general public for research under the rules and regulations for use of the collection. Portions of the collection may also be used for exhibits within the History Center and the Lapham-Patterson House Museum.

Acquisitions will be made through donation, deposit, and on rare occasion by purchase and are approved by the History Center’s Curator of Collections in accordance with the Collection Policy. Acquisitions will also be based on the History Center’s ability to properly care for the items. Acquisitions will be limited to those collections that have a primary emphasis on Thomas County and/or Thomas County residents. However, this will not preclude acquisition of materials of broader scope if they describe conditions or events which directly impacted Thomas County and its development.

The Following Items Will Be Accepted


Family & Individual Artifacts

Including papers, textiles, letters, diaries, legal documents, speeches, memoirs, ledgers, digital storage media, etc.


Printed materials

Including newspapers, pamphlets, brochures, directories, annuals, family histories, and posters.


Moving images

In all available formats including but not limited to celluloid film, videotape, digital video discs, and digital files.


Organizational artifacts & records

Including but not limited to governments, schools, and churches; also, civic clubs, charitable organizations, mutual interest groups, secret societies, and fraternal or sporting organizations.


Audio recordings

In all current and historic formats, including but not limited to wax cylinders, analog records, magnetic tape, compact discs, and non-physical digital files.


Still images

Including but not limited to printed images in all current and historical formats, positive and negative slides, negative images, hand or machine drawn images, digital images on physical media, and non-physical digital images.



In all formats related to Thomas County history, including rare and current books for reference, history, and biography.

Our Policy Continued

The History Center recognizes that other institutions collect in the same or overlapping areas and that, in some cases, another such institution may be a more appropriate repository for materials offered to the History Center. In the spirit of cooperation, opportunities to acquire such materials, as well as those not covered by the Collection Policy of the History Center, will be referred to an appropriate repository. In the event that the legitimate collecting interests of the History Center and another repository directly conflict, the History Center will use the best interests of the research community as the primary criterion in pursuing a resolution.

Except in special circumstances, photocopied material will not be accessioned in to the History Center’s collections and will be considered reference material not subject to the same protections and restrictions of archival items of the collection. Newspaper clippings may be accessioned into the collection or treated as non-archival reference materials at the discretion of the Curator of Collections.

The History Center will not accept collections which are closed to public access in perpetuity. Although the History Center prefers not to collect material with access restrictions, collections that can be opened upon the donor’s death, or within a reasonable period of time, will be considered.

The History Center discourages accepting incoming loans due to the procedural complications that frequently accompany said acceptance. Particular consideration should be paid to the loaner’s age and health. Incoming loans will only be accepted on a temporary basis when it will be of benefit to the History Center, with approval from the Curator of Collections or the Executive Director.

Collection items of the History Center will not be specific to the Museum of History or Lapham-Patterson House Museum, other than an annotation in the catalogue record. Objects and archives belonging to the History Center will be stored at the Museum of History’s storage area if not on exhibit. Objects belonging to the State of Georgia/Department of Natural Resources will remain at the Lapham-Patterson House Museum under all circumstances and should never be brought to the Museum of History.

In the event that the History Center determines a previously accessioned item to be unsuitable, it will be de-accessioned.

Procedures for Execution of Thomasville History Center Policy for Acceptance of Materials

  • A gift agreement will be executed between the donor and the History Center.
  • The History Center is under no obligation to accept everything offered by a donor.
  • There will be no guarantee of exhibit or special treatment of materials donated.
  • Loan-In: Loans will not normally be accepted.
  • Loan-Out: Archival materials will not normally be loaned out.
  • Materials will be processed and catalogued according to nationally established archival procedures.
  • Guarantees of immediate cataloging will not be given.
  • The History Center will not provide copies of donated materials.
  • Tax appraisals of donated materials will be handled by the donor before such material will be accepted by the History Center. The History Center will not participate in the appraisal process.
  • The History Center will not purchase manuscripts collections from private owners.
  • Any special exceptions to these procedures will be reviewed by the Curator of Collections or the Executive Director.