Mission and Purpose It is the mission of the Bucks County Historical Society (BCHS) to educate and engage its many audiences in appreciating the past and to help people find stories and meanings relevant to their lives—both today and in the future. BCHS is a multi-faceted educational organization, which recognizes and celebrates its multiple identities, purposes and audiences. As the County Historical Society, it is charged with preserving and interpreting the rich history and culture of Bucks County and the Delaware Valley region. As the primary inheritor of the material and intellectual legacy of Henry Chapman Mercer, the BCHS is responsible for interpreting, perpetuating and expanding on his unique contributions to the fields of art, architecture, museology, anthropology, archaeology and ceramics manufacture. Finally, as custodian of a regionally and nationally significant collection of the tools and artifacts (i.e., material culture) of pre-industrial America, the Historical Society is charged with researching, preserving and interpreting those artifacts which illuminate the history of everyday life and work in America to circa 1850. BCHS recognizes its responsibility to be both sensitive and responsive to the needs, interests, and experiences of diverse audiences and to uphold the highest standards of professional ethics.
Criteria for Acquisitions To be acquired by the Historical Society, objects or materials must meet all of the following tests: 1. They must conform to one or more of the three areas in which the Society collects. 2. The present owner must have clear legal title. 3. Wherever possible, the objects or materials must be accompanied by adequate historical information to document provenance and use (certain library material such as new or published works may be exempted from this requirement). 4. Objects and materials should either fill a gap in a particular area of the collection, or exhibit significant variation from materials already collected. 5. The Society must be able to adequately care for objects and materials proposed for acquisition. 6. Acquisitions must, in general, be free from donor-imposed restrictions. 7. All perceived moral, legal and ethical implications of the acquisition must have been considered. 8. All reasonable steps must have been taken to insure that objects or materials proposed for acquisition possess physical integrity and historical authenticity and are capable of being exhibited or used for study purposes. 9. Objects or materials must not have been illegally imported into the United States or obtained contrary to existing local, state, federal or international law, regulation, treaty or convention. The Society subscribes to the provision of the ICOM convention of 1970.
Display BCHS makes no guarantee that any object donated to its collections will be put on public display.
Rights & Reproductions / Copyright Transfer Unless other explicit, written arrangements have been made with the donor(s), it is understood that all applicable copyrights, trademarks, and related property rights are transferred to BCHS along with all donations. BCHS may publish, duplicate, distribute, alter, and use in any way whatsoever, any photographs, text, or other donated materials.
**Library and Archival Acquisitions – Special Terms: 1. BCHS often receives large archival collections of documents, photographs, and miscellaneous family papers. BCHS staff will carefully evaluate each item in such collections. Unless other explicit, written arrangements have been made with the donor(s) prior to the donation, archival materials in such donations that are deemed out-of-scope, duplicate, lacking in historical value, or otherwise unfit, due to physical condition and/or subject matter, to be accessioned into the BCHS collection may be sold at public auction for the benefit of the BCHS collection, disposed of, or transferred to another educational institution. 2. Due to staff time constraints and the volume of materials that BCHS receives for its library and archival collections each year, BCHS cannot guarantee that any photographs, documents, or other materials donated to the collection will be scanned, digitized, or made available online, unless explicit, written arrangements have been made with the donor(s) of the collections prior to the donation.
Appraisals Subject to applicable IRS regulations, a donation to the Bucks County Historical Society may entitle you to an income tax deduction. You are urged to secure written appraisals for your gifts from reputable appraisers or antique dealers. The Board of Trustee s of the Bucks County Historical Society specifically prohibits the staff from offering any kind of monetary valuation for object.