The objectives of the West Des Moines Historical Society’s collection management policy are to collect, preserve, study, interpret, and exhibit items appropriate to the Jordan House Museum, Bennett School, and West Des Moines history. Acts of acquisition, accession, and deaccession shall reflect the purpose of the West Des Moines Historical Society (WDMHS).

The WDMHS strives to acquire four different types of artifacts:

  1. Museum artifacts for period rooms of the Jordan House that represent the time period from 1850 to the early 1900s, the time the Jordan family resided in the Jordan House. Types of artifacts include, but are not limited to: furniture, textiles, accessories, and personal belongings.  Objects must be from the period and reflect a typical item one of the Jordans may have owned.
    1. All potential acquisitions must fall under one primary tier:
      1. Tier one: Items owned by a member of the Jordan family & descendants
      2. Tier two: Items with documentation that ties in directly with West Des Moines/Valley Junction history
  • Tier three: Items with ties to Iowa history that are not represented at either museum or could replace current collection item based on condition.
  1. Museum artifacts for the Bennett School that represent the time period from 1920 to 1940, the approximate dates the Bennett School was in use. Types of artifacts include, but are not limited to: furniture, textiles, teaching materials, and play items.  Objects must be from the period and reflect a typical item a teacher or student of the time may have used.
  2. Objects from the community of West Des Moines from any time period. Artifacts must reflect the community and be of value to the community.
  3. Library and archival materials, which may include, but are not limited to: newspapers, obituaries, published works reflecting the history of the Jordan family or West Des Moines, yearbooks, photographs, manuscripts, and oral histories.

The current collections include: The Jordan House and property, the Bennett School, archival materials, photographs, historical objects, and use (educational) items.  Current storage capacity is limited to the Jordan House and Bennett School.


  1. Acquisitions

Acquisition is defined as the act of acquiring or gaining possession.  For museums this often means acquiring through transfer of ownership or discovery of objects.  From time to time the WDMHS acquires items through bequest, gift, purchase, etc.  Objects under consideration for acquisition by the WDMHS should be assessed using the following criteria:


  1. The artifacts must be relevant and consistent with the mission of the WDMHS.
  2. The WDMHS must have the ability to provide for the storage, protection, and preservation of the artifacts under conditions that insure their availability for museum purposes and in keeping with professionally accepted standards.
  3. Items will have permanency in the collections as long as they retain their physical integrity, their identity, and their authenticity, and/or as long as they remain useful for the purposes of the WDMHS.
  4. Artifacts must, if possible, be documented as to provenance.
  5. All moral, legal, and ethical implication of the acquisition must be considered.
  6. All donations are considered unconditional gifts to be used at the discretion of the WDMHS. Title to all objects acquired shall be free and clear, without restriction to use or future disposition, unless otherwise approved by the Board of Directors.

These criteria are imperative to maintaining the collections within the Society’s capacity to meet its mission of preservation and education.  In other words, if the collections are not properly documented and stored, then its preservation is in peril and cannot be effectively used to educate.

Persons interested in donating to the Society’s collections should contact a WDMHS staff member.  The staff member shall secure a description of the potential gift, including photographs of the object(s).  The WDMHS Collections Committee will evaluate the potential gift for its relevance to the collection, physical condition, relationship to the collecting priorities, and impact on the WDMHS.  If the WDMHS Collections Committee determines the object(s) meet(s) the acquisitions criteria it will make a recommendation to the WDMHS Board of Directors for final approval.  Materials anonymously left in the custody of the WDMHS will be evaluated and considered a possible addition to the collection.