Thank you for your interest in donating to the Golden Dragon Museum’s Collection.

Golden Dragon Museum (GDM) has a Collection of some 30,000 objects ranging from Imperial Processional Dragons to textiles, metalware, stoneware, woodwork, photographs, and documents. Its quality, depth and range make it the most important collection of Chinese cultural and heritage material in Australia and one of international significance. Critical to its importance is the fact that parts of the Collection are still used today for cultural and ritual purposes by the local Bendigo Chinese community, just as they have been for some six generations.

GDM welcomes the opportunity to acquire new pieces that will enhance and further develop its Collection. However, the Museum follows specific guidelines as to what it will collect and generally turns down more possible donations than it accepts. Once acquired by the Museum, objects become the property of GDM and are cared for, researched, and used in keeping with international Museum standards.

In considering whether to acquire an object the Museum will carefully consider how it relates to the rest of the Collection and whether we are the best place for that object to be held in perpetuity. In many cases, whilst an object has significance to an individual or a family, it may not be suitable for inclusion in the Collection.

These Guidelines will assist potential donors in further considering whether to offer an object to GDM.

’Bendigo Easter Festival – 1979’’
Charles William Bush 1919 – 1989
Oil on canvas
Donated by Sandhurst Trustees Ltd, 2020
GDM1975 Collection Golden Dragon Museum

Donation Guidelines

Golden Dragon Museum welcomes donation offers for our Collection from members of the public. GDM collects items based on rarity, context, significance, and materiality, and whether they align with our Collections Policy. Any item presented to the Museum for potential donation must generally fit into one or more of the following three collection criteria:

  1. Bendigo Chinese history

These are objects that directly relate to the social history of the Chinese-Australian community within Bendigo, the surrounding Goldfields area, and throughout Australia, with a particular focus on the Chinese immigrant experience. These items would typically need to relate to significant individuals, families, events and/or places within these areas.

  1. Dragons and other processional cultural practice

These are objects that directly relate to, or act to record examples of, dragon processional cultural practice, both focused within Bendigo (i.e., the Bendigo Easter Parade) and beyond. Objects within this category could also relate to the accompanying regalia, traditional practice or ceremony, and performance, that relate to the historical practice of the dragon procession.

  1. Chinese artistry and craft

These objects highlight exemplary examples of Chinese artistry, craft technique, and style. Objects within this category also highlight methods of production unique to, or specialised by, the Chinese community, both historical and contemporary.

GDM holds the right to accept or reject any offer of donation based on these criteria. Donations require the formal transfer of ownership of the object to the Museum in perpetuity and will generally only be accepted without any conditions or requirements being placed on the Museum.

If you have an object/s you would like to offer to donate, please email Megan Hall, Collections Manager, at [email protected]. In your email, please provide clear photographs, a description of the object and its history (its provenance), an approximate size, and how it relates to the above criteria.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean to donate an object to the Golden Dragon Museum?

When you donate an object to a museum, you are gifting an item of historical or cultural significance to the Museum. This involves a formal transfer of ownership from you to the Museum in perpetuity. Items held by Museums are cared for by staff and preserved for future generations to see and learn from. Any object donated to the museum can be used for exhibitions and research projects.

How do I donate an object?

If you have an object you would like to donate, as a first step, please email Megan Hall, Collections Manager, at [email protected]. In your email, please provide clear photographs, a description of the object and its history, and how it may relate to the criteria listed in the Donations Guideline.

After the offer is received, Museum staff will discuss the offer in accordance with these guidelines and our Collections Policy and then will be in contact with you about the outcome, whether the Museum accepts the donation or not.

Once a donation of an object has been approved, you will be asked to fill in and sign a Gift Agreement form, which will include your details and any details of the object you can share. In signing this Gift Agreement, you legally transfer the ownership of the object to the Museum in perpetuity. Any condition associated with the donation must be agreed upon before the Gift Agreement is signed. Only those conditions so agreed will apply.

Why do you need my details?

It is a requirement that the Museum records the source of all objects donated to the Collection to ensure that there is legal ownership of the item by the donor and that the transfer of the object to the Museum’s care is recorded. We also need your details as a reference for ongoing research, or for any potential questions about the object that may arise after the initial donation date.

All your personal details are kept secure and will never be released to the public, as per our Privacy Policy. You may opt to have your name included in the label’s credit line if you wish, but no other personal details will be shared publicly.

Can I just bring my object into the Museum to donate?

We do not accept unsolicited donations handed in or left at the Front Desk without prior agreement. If you bring a potential donation to the Museum without prior agreement, we may be able to tell you if we would be interested in the offer or not, but you will be directed to email our Collections Manager for the approvals process and you will be asked to take the item away with you.

If you have an object you would like to donate, as a first step, please email Megan Hall, Collections Manager, at [email protected]. In your email, please provide clear photographs, a description of the object and its history, and how it may relate to the criteria listed in the Donations Guideline.

Once approved, do I have to bring the object to the Museum myself?

Once an object donation is approved, and you are local to us in Bendigo or the surrounding areas, you can bring the object into the Museum yourself. We will ask you to fill out and sign a donation form to confirm your ownership of the object and formalise the donation.

If you are not local or just do not wish to bring the object into the Museum yourself, we do accept donations sent through post or, in some select cases, we can organise a collection. In this case, we will send a digital version of the donation form to you to fill out, sign, and return to us before the object is forwarded to the Museum.

For large objects, this will be on a case-by-case basis. Please speak to our Collections Manager, Megan Hall, [email protected], about the logistics of this for any very large or particularly heavy item.

I or my family or a relative, donated something in the past, can I get it back?

When you donate an object to the Museum, you hand over legal ownership of that item in perpetuity. Typically, we do not return objects after they have been formally acquired into the Collection.

However, if you feel that an object has been falsely donated or purchased, you are welcome to contact and will discuss this with us.

I want to donate an object but only with certain conditions and limitations attached to it.

Generally, objects will only be accepted into the Collection unencumbered and without any terms or conditions, e.g., that the object must always be on exhibition. Under certain circumstances, terms and conditions can be agreed upon between the Museum and a donor but these must be discussed and noted between the parties at the time of donation. If there are certain cultural practices or rituals attached to a specific object that the donor is aware of, it is important that these are discussed during the donation process.

I have an object that I believe the Museum may be interested in, but I want to sell it, not donate it.

All acquisitions to the Collection are subject to the Donations Guidelines. However, if you want to sell an object rather than donate it you should make this clear from the outset when you contact the Museum. We have very limited acquisition funds.

It may be that the object can be gifted to the Museum through the Federal Government’s Cultural Gift Program which offers tax incentives to encourage people to donate cultural items to public art galleries, museums, libraries, and archives in Australia. Further information can be found here:

Can you tell me how much my object is worth?

The Museum does not provide valuation services. If you need an object to be valued, please contact specialist commercial galleries or auction houses (e.g. Leonard Joel) or check the approved list of professional valuers listed on the Cultural Gifts Program webpage:

Can you authenticate my object?

We do not provide authentication services. The Museum is open for consultation for research, and we may be able to look at objects for you, but we are unable to confirm the authenticity of any item.

If you would like to have an item looked at by our staff, please make an appointment by emailing [email protected].