• 30 May 2024

Donations to the Little Gem Collection

The current Collection is comprised of a diverse range of over 10000 objects, photographs and records which has been accumulated over the past 65 years by Michael Loomes, through his own collection and many donations.

What we collect

As the only purpose built Museum, dedicated to Scouting and Guiding, in the UK we don’t just collect historic items; contemporary material is also welcome. Our Collecting Policy outlines the types of material we’re able to collect, but our key themes are:

  • Robert, Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell – the life and works of our founder.
  • Olave, Lady Baden-Powell – her life and works in Guiding.
  • The story and development of UK Scouting and Guiding, from their conception to the present day.

We have limited resources to conserve, document and store items, so it’s important that we don’t duplicate material or accept items which may be better stored elsewhere or have more relevance to another collection. In view of this, we’re not able to accept, initially, everything that’s offered to us. That’s why it’s helpful if we know details, and/or photographs, about the item(s) being offered so that we can decide if they’re suitable for the collection.

Making a donation enquiry

If you think you have an item which “Be Prepared – The Story of Scouting and Guiding Museum” may be interested in, please email us at info@littlegem.org.uk and we will send you a Donation Information Form to complete.

The more information you can give us, the easier it’ll be for us to decide whether to accept the item(s) into the collection. Information such as who the item(s) belonged to, where it was used, and whether there any stories about the item or person it belonged to are all relevant. It’s also helpful if you can send us photographs of the items, or copies of photographs or records.

The Trustees meet regularly and will assess all potential donations. Following the meeting we’ll get in touch with a decision regarding your offer.

Unfortunately, we’re unable to accept objects that have been left at, or posted to, the Museum without prior discussion and agreement. We’ll do our best to contact the donors of unsolicited offers, however if objects/archives remain uncollected for four months, or if no contact details are left, absolute ownership will be transferred to “Be Prepared – The Story of Scouting and Guiding Trust” who may dispose of the items as it sees fit.

What happens if we decide to accept your item(s):

If we decide we’d like to accept your item(s) into our collection, we’ll ask you to sign an Object Entry Form and return this form to us with your donation. This form permanently changes the ownership of the item from you to The Trust, which means you may not reclaim it at a future date.

Due to limited budgets, we’re unable to pay for donations to be sent or transported to the Museum’s location and are only able to collect items in exceptional circumstances.

What your donation will be used for:

If your donation fits in with our Collecting Policy and is in good condition, it’ll be accessioned into our permanent collection.

Currently we attempt to rotate the display of items in the collection alongside our three permanent displays. We’re investigating different ways to use the Collection including developing online exhibitions, social media, and learning and engagement opportunities both within Scouts and with the wider public. Your item(s) may be used during this programme of activity, but we can’t guarantee when this may happen. Meanwhile, your object will be carefully stored and be available for research, study and education purposes.

What happens if we don’t accept your item:

If we can’t accept your item into the Collection please don’t be offended; we’re always grateful that you considered donating to us. It could be that we already have a similar example, that the item is simply too big, or it’s of a type we don’t collect (but another heritage service might) and will advise you if this is the case.

If you’re offering a group of items, we may be able to accept some but not all. Please consider whether you’d be happy for the items to be separated when you complete the Donation Information Form and we’ll do our best to offer you advice on who else may be interested in the remaining items (for example: local archives and museums or amateur Scout collectors or historians).

Please note, we’re unable to accept:

  • Material on long-term loan
  • Material with specific conditions attached.
  • Hazardous objects and substances (e.g., firearms, knives, objects containing – asbestos, explosive, flammable, poisonous, potentially carcinogenic or radioactive material)