Let's say you hear about a museum putting together a special exhibit. It needs certain items for display, and a curator has asked people to donate them. You have a family heirloom the museum needs. Would you donate it?
You might donate your heirloom because it has historic or regional significance, or to expand the heirloom's story to a larger audience. You might want to honor a family member by offering artifacts from his or her life for display or research.
Preservation is another reason people donate heirlooms. Museums maintain protective, controlled environments -- away from kids, pets and daily wear.