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Collection and Research

City of Waterloo City of Waterloo

The City of Waterloo Museum is part of the City of Waterloo’s community services department. Our mandate is to preserve, protect and exhibit the city’s heritage collection comprised of over 10,000 artifacts. The signature collection, from the former Seagram Museum and Plant in Waterloo, is made up of a historic and rare bottle collection including many international distillers, and chronicles the wide variety of Seagram products produced. We also maintain an exquisite glass collection of early drinking vessels and decanters. Our collection also contains a number of local public and fine art pieces, industrial artifacts, many related to the distilling industry, artifacts and archival material related to the municipal history of Waterloo and the Elam Martin farmstead (a Mennonite farm) located at RIM Park.

The City of Waterloo Museum aims to demonstrate the unique social and cultural heritage of the City of Waterloo, as well as increase the understanding and enjoyment of local history and contemporary art as they pertain to the history and culture of the city, through displays, exhibits and loans of the City of Waterloo Museum’s collections. To this end, the City of Waterloo Museum acquires, displays, and preserves representative objects, documents, photographs, and other artifacts. Some of these items come from businesses and corporations, but many more are donated to the City of Waterloo Museum by individuals like you.

Donations

We appreciate your interest in helping to preserve Waterloo’s heritage and build our collections! If you have an object or objects you would like to donate to the City of Waterloo Museum, please contact Karen VandenBrink, manager, museum & archival collections.

All objects proposed for acquisition will be assessed based on the following criteria:

  • Condition: The physical condition of artifacts will be considered as well as the extent to which conservation or restoration treatment is required and any costs associated with said treatments. Objects in poor condition will not be accepted unless they are rare or of particular significance to the collections.
  • Relevance: Artifacts will be assessed based on how well they ‘fit’ with the museum’s collections both in terms of how well they support the museum’s mission, and how they compare to other artifacts in the collections. Objects will only be acquired if they meet the requirements of the City of Waterloo Museum’s collections mandate.
  • Documentation: Consideration will also be given to the provenance of an object, as well as any contextual information or other known details regarding the fabrication and function of the object, as this information is critical to collections management. 

If the City of Waterloo Museum is unable to accept your donation, we will attempt to refer you to another museum or archive that may be interested in acquiring your object.

More information

We encourage you to review the frequently asked questions about donating to the City of Waterloo Museum.