Curation

Curation of Artifacts at OSARC

About the Lab

The OSA has a stewardship responsibility for archaeological materials owned or maintained by the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Collections on hand have been donated or otherwise acquired by the department, or might be on indefinite, long-term loan through interagency agreements with other state or federal agencies with statutory or regulatory control over artifacts and records. The Office of State Archaeology's Research Center (OSARC) is the primary location for the preservation and storage of these and many of North Carolina's archaeological collections. The OSARC facility strives to ensure the availability of archaeological collections and records for researchers and the public, with guidelines on how artifacts should be retrieved, processed, stored and handled in ways that will contribute to their long-term preservation. The OSA works with agencies to achieve system compatibility for newly acquired collections and to ensure collections meet professional standards like those detailed in these guidelines. Collections donated from private or corporate sources can be accommodated by the OSA, thus adding to the state's inventory of prehistoric and historic archaeological research materials. Requests for using the OSA's collections storage and research facilities should be submitted to the Laboratory Supervisor

Curation Standards & Fees

Staff and space limitations of the OSARC require that materials submitted for curation meet certain general conditions before acceptance. We are pleased to announce our updated Curation Guidelines which can be found in our Archaeological Investigation Standards and Guidelines (Part 4. Curation). For artifact submissions for our curation facility, please fill out the Incoming Collections Form.

Artifact Donations

The OSARC conditionally accepts donated collections associated with North Carolina archaeology. Donations are considered individually, based on the size of the collection, type and condition of artifacts, historical significance, documentation that accompanies the materials, and applicability to the OSARC’s mission and scope of collections. Artifacts with no documentation or context may go to our teaching collection, where they are used in outreach and education. Artifacts with documentation are more likely to be curated and pulled for exhibit purposes or added to our type collection for comparative analysis. With enough contextual information, the OSARC will work to associate the donated artifacts to a documented site location in North Carolina to improve our understanding of our state’s history.

Individuals wishing to donate artifacts to the OSARC must first contact the Laboratory Supervisor with photographs of the artifacts to be donated, information regarding the collector, where the artifacts were found, whether permission (verbal or written) was obtained from the property owner, and any other documentation that may exist.

If the donation is accepted, ownership must be transferred to the OSARC via a deed of gift. This legal document certifies that the object is yours to donate and that you agree to assign all rights associated with the object to the OSARC. When you sign and return the deed of gift, the object becomes part of the collection of the OSARC. Individuals wishing to have artifacts appraised for tax purposes must do so independently before donation. The OSARC and the Office of State Archaeology do not appraise artifacts.

Visiting the Lab

The OSARC is a working lab with a small staff. We allow visitors Tuesday-Thursday, by request only. Appointments must be made at least two weeks in advance to visit the lab. To schedule a visit, contact Emily McDowell.

Volunteering at the Lab

We accept volunteers on a first-come-first-serve basis. For more information, please visit our volunteer page.

Volunteer information