MVZ Community

Sign up for the MVZ Newsletter

Researcher Donations

Thank you for considering a donation to the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology!

Acceptance of a donation is at the discretion of MVZ Curators.

Once a donation is accessioned into the MVZ collections, the inclusive material and any copyrights become the property of the Regents of the University of California.

Specimen Donations

All specimens must be accompanied by copies of permits or other documentation showing that the material was obtained legally by the donor. In cases where the donation consists of older material that lacks such documentation, the donor must submit a letter to the Museum at the time of the donation that indicates the nature and source of material and that explains the reason for lack of permit documentation. Salvaged specimens from California (that are not threatened or endangered) may be covered by MVZ state and federal salvage permits.

Specimens donated to the MVZ should have information on collector, collection locality and geographic coordinates, collection date, and other relevant data. For helpful guidelines, see:

All specimens should be accompanied by either field notes, data tags, or data sheets. Original field notes are preferred, especially for MVZ affiliated researchers (for more information on that see Archival Materials section below).

Each time you transfer specimens to the Museum, fill out an Accession Donation Form (PDF) and give it to the appropriate Staff Curator.

Occasionally, donors may wish to claim specimen donations as a tax deduction. Museum staff are not responsible for appraising the value of specimen donations for tax or other purposes. In these cases, the donor must submit a letter to the Director indicating the number and kind of specimens donated, their estimated value, and how this appraisal was obtained (e.g., by a certified taxidermist). The Museum then will submit this letter to the U.C. Development Office, who will provide the donor with a receipt.

Accessioning and cataloguing will follow established procedures of the Museum. Donated material and associated data will be made available for research, education, or public exhibit according to the mission and policies of the Museum and Regents, except by prior signed agreement between the donor and the Museum.

Contact MVZ Staff Curators for additional information.

Archival Materials

Archival materials include field notes, photographs, annotated maps, and historical correspondence. The Museum seeks to archive materials that are associated with research projects, primarily related to specimens. If you are interested in donating materials please contact:

  • Field Notes - Specimen donations should be accompanied by field notes. For guidelines on taking field notes, see "Policies, Procedures, & Guidelines."
  • Images - The Museum accepts both digital and non-digital images of historic or research value. Researchers are increasingly relying on digital images as part of fieldwork and for documenting species occurrences. These images may be of animals, habitats, landscapes, or people/camps. As such, they add value to specimens, observations, and collecting events. Click here for information on donating photos.
Other Materials

If you are considering a donation of scientific illustrations or other artwork, see our deed of gift form and contact mvzarchives "at"

Contact MVZ Staff Curators if you are considering a donation of audio or video recordings.

Sign up for the MVZ Newsletter