What University Archives Collects
University Archives welcomes inquiries about potential donations. Please contact us first before shipping any material. We will then work with you to determine the most appropriate disposition of the material and to conclude a deed of gift.
University Archives collects a wide variety of archival material related to the history, growth, and development of Cal Poly. University Archives staff members will work with you to identify which materials are appropriate to donate. In some cases, University Archives staff members may wish to see the material before it is physically transferred.
What to Donate
University Archives collects both personal papers created by individuals and families, and records created by campus offices and organizations. Types of materials that we collect may include: photographs, audio recordings, letters, diaries, annual reports, newsletters, architectural drawings and plans, master plans, photographs, motion pictures, account books, deeds, meeting minutes and agendas, planning documents, scrapbooks, pamphlets, invitations, research files, and others.
Transferring Materials to University Archives
Please contact us before shipping any material, so that we can discuss the donation process with you and help you identify which materials to donate. You can then ship the records or papers to us or make an appointment to deliver them in person. In some cases, University Archives staff members may be able to pick up the materials.
To transfer ownership of the archival materials to University Archives, we ask you to sign a Deed of Gift or Acknowledgment of Transfer form. The deed of gift includes a brief description of the material donated and can be customized to address the individual donor's needs. The donation becomes official once it is reviewed and approved by the University Archivist. University Archives generally does not accept materials on deposit or on loan.
Care of the Collections
University Archives’ archival collections are kept in environmentally balanced, secure, closed stack storage areas. Staff members retrieve them for research use in a supervised reading room. Additional security measures are also taken.
As resources and time permit, University Archives staff members improve research access by arranging collections and describing them in written finding aids and online catalog records. To preserve them physically, collection materials are transferred to acid-free folders and boxes, and sometimes receive more specialized treatment from professionally trained preservation technicians.
Arranging, describing, and preserving collections is expensive, and often depends on grants or private contributions. We would be happy to discuss with you the cost of processing your papers or records, and we encourage you to consider a monetary gift so that we can complete this work in a timely manner.
Monetary Appraisals for Tax Deductions
You may be able to take a tax deduction for the donation of personal papers to University Archives at Cal Poly. However, University Archives staff members cannot provide monetary appraisals of your gifts. We can supply you with a list of professional appraisers, and we encourage you to discuss possible tax implications with your accountant and attorney.
To discuss the possible gift of archival material, contact University Archives at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 805-756-2305.
Access to Collections
As a general rule, University Archives provides access to collections within the framework of our library policies and procedures. Please see our page on Research Access for more information.
For more information check out the Northeast Document Conservation Center web site.