No matter how much your heirloom means to you, it may not be right for a museum. It might be declined because it's in poor condition, it doesn't fit the museum's mission, or the museum already has similar items.
"All museums have storage and capacity issues," Neill said. "We have collecting priorities, and we're pressed to make the best use of our resources."
If your museum of choice declines your heirloom, consider offering it elsewhere. State archives collect diaries, letters, maps, photographs and some artifacts. Living history centers might use your heirloom to educate and entertain visitors. It could also be suitable for a memorial.