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Guidance for Donors

Guidance and FAQs for potential donors to the collections of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust greatly appreciates the many kind offers of donations that it receives each year for the collection. Unfortunately, we cannot accept every item offered to us. Therefore we must make sure that each item we acquire is the best possible fit with our collecting policy, public programmes and research priorities.


  • ‘Items’ is a blanket term that includes archive, library and museum objects
  • The terms ‘object’, ‘item’ and ‘artefact’ are interchangeable for the purposes of this guidance
  • ‘Collection’ means all the objects in the care of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (SBT)

Our Existing Collection

The Shakespeare collections of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust together with those of the the Royal Shakespeare Company have been jointly awarded Designated status as a collection of National Importance.

Our collection contains approximately 7,000 museum objects, 50,000 books and 1 million archive documents. In defining the content of this collection it is useful to consider the diagram below, with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and the Properties we manage, as the centre of the broad collections areas.

Collections content diagram

FAQs for donors

I have an object that the SBT might be interested in for the collection; shall I bring it in to show you?

Please don’t bring the object into us without giving us prior warning as we are not be able to accept items on the spot. Either email [email protected] or write to: Collection Department, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 6QW.

What information do you need about the object?

In short, we need as much information as possible! Please include the following:

  • Full and thorough description of the item
  • A good picture of the item
  • Your full name and contact details
  • Provenance details
  • Method of offer (e.g. is it a gift or sale)

Can you tell me how much my object is worth?

No, we are unable to help with item valuation. 

Can I attach conditions to my offer?

We cannot accept items into the collection that have conditions attached.

Can I lend an object to the Trust?

We only accept items on loan if it is for a specific reason such as a specified exhibition or event.

How does the Trust decide which objects to accept for the collection?

The SBT has a formal decision making process for new acquisitions that involves gathering all relevant information together and the offering being assessed by our Collections Development Group.

How long will it take for you to make a decision?

We aim to make decisions as quickly as possible but it may take up to 2 months for a final decision to be made.

I have another question.

Please email [email protected] and we'll do everything we can to help!

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