Legacy Giving

Thirty-five years ago, the Montshire was brimming with potential but its track record was unproven. Today, the Montshire is a highly respected institution both locally and nationally.

"My late husband and I were involved with the Montshire Museum for many years. We decided to include a gift to Montshire in our will as a way to sustain a wonderful institution that we respect and believe in. A bequest is an easy way to have a lasting impact."
 - Barbara Blough

Our exhibits and programs are recognized widely for innovation and efficacy, and the Museum's finances are on solid ground. A number of families have chosen to invest in Montshire's future with a legacy gift. These gifts, often in support of Montshire's endowment, help ensure the Museum's ability to provide meaningful exhibits and programs for the generations to come.

Your Legacy Gift Can Provide:

Support for innovation

Legacy and planned gifts allow Montshire to pursue innovative opportunities and ideas such as new educational initiatives, partnerships, and exhibit development.


Gifts to Montshire's endowment increase the annual revenue generated by these funds, allowing the Museum to weather variations in earned revenues. A simple way to continue your support is to "endow" your annual gift with a bequest that is 20 times the value of your yearly contribution.


Major gifts to endow a leadership position or program can provide a donor with prominent named opportunities. 

Options for Legacy Giving to the Montshire Museum of Science


Donors of all ages and means can include a gift to the Montshire in their wills. Bequests of all sizes help ensure the Museum's future.

Bequests can be included in the body of your will, or in a simple, inexpensive codicil added to your existing will. Bequests can be written to leave a specific amount to the Montshire, a percentage of your estate, or the residue of your estate after all other commitments have been satisfied.

Following is sample language that may be used in a will:
"I hereby give, devise and bequeath to the Montshire Museum of Science Inc., a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of New Hampshire, with its principal place of business in Norwich, Vermont (1) the sum of $_______ (or property, securities, etc.) or (2)_______% of the residuary of my estate to be used for the benefit of the Montshire Museum of Science Inc., for its general use and purposes as the Board of Trustees may direct."
If your estate will be subject to estate tax, a significant bequest can reduce the taxable portion or bring the value below the taxable threshold.

Life Insurance Policies

An insurance policy can be used to make a significant gift to the Montshire and provide a variety of tax benefits. Transferring ownership of a policy provides an immediate tax deduction, while naming Montshire as a partial or sole beneficiary may result in an estate tax deduction. Often, adding a beneficiary to a life insurance policy can be a simple and inexpensive way to make a legacy gift.

Life Income Gifts

There are a number of ways to commit your funds or assets to a future philanthropic purpose, while receiving income during your or your spouse's lifetime. Through gift annuities or charitable remainder trusts, funds are irrevocably transferred to Montshire or another trustee to be managed for a period of years or until your or your beneficiary's death. In exchange, you receive income and a variety of tax benefits.

Charitable Gift Annuities

A gift annuity is similar to an annuity that you purchase from an insurance company in that it provides a predictable stream of income in return for your investment. Gift annuities allow you to make a contribution to the Montshire and then receive a fixed annual income from the gift during your life and/or your spouse's life. The older you are when the annuity is established, the higher the rate offered. Upon the death of the annuitant, the remaining principal becomes available to the Montshire for educational programs and exhibits.

Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRT)

A CRT can be established with cash, appreciated securities, real estate, or other marketable assets. Managed by a trustee of your choice, the CRT enables you to make a contribution to Montshire while you receive lifetime annual payments based on the trust's value each year or a fixed percentage of the amount you contribute. You also receive significant tax benefits. When the trust terminates, the remainder comes to the Museum.

Charitable Lead Trusts

Unlike life income gifts, charitable lead trusts provide immediate funding for science education at Montshire. With this type of instrument, you contribute assets to a trust and establish an amount or fixed percentage to be paid to the Montshire for a designated period of time, or for the life of designated individuals. At the end of this period, the trust is terminated and the property is either returned to you or distributed to named beneficiaries without being subject to further estate or gift tax. As a result, charitable lead trusts allow you to leave property to heirs, while reducing gift and estate taxes, and providing income to the Montshire today.

Other Ways to Give

The Montshire is pleased to accept immediate gifts of cash and stock. Both options offer an income tax deduction. With a contribution of appreciated securities, you also can avoid paying capital gains taxes that would have applied had you sold the shares yourself.

Perhaps the simplest way to make a legacy gift is to add the Montshire Museum as a beneficiary of your retirement plan or IRA. All you need is a "beneficiary change form" from your plan administrator. Many plans will allow you to add a new beneficiary online.

On December 18, 2015, legislation was signed into law that retroactively extends the IRA Rollover provision for 2015 and makes it permanent for future years. If you are age 70 1/2 or older, you can make a direct transfer from your traditional or Roth IRA to the Montshire Museum and other charitable organizations without being subject to federal income tax. These withdrawls count toward your minimum distribution requirements for the year of the gift. Contact your IRA administrator to arrange a direct transfer.

The Montshire may accept gifts of tangible personal property when the items are useful to the Museum or may be sold readily. Under the right circumstances, the Montshire will also accept real estate, including a remainder interest that reserves the right of occupancy for you and your spouse for life.


About Montshire's Endowment

The Montshire Museum of Science has an endowment of approximately $6 million that provides a stream of annual revenue to support Montshire exhibits and programs. Growing the endowment is a strategic priority of the Museum's leadership because a stronger financial foundation will empower the Museum to advance science education, while achieving greater long-term stability. Annual income withdrawn from the endowment is determined by an endowment spending formula approved by the Montshire Board of Trustees and Investment Committee.

Endowment gifts of all levels are welcome and sincerely appreciated. Unrestricted gifts support the most pressing priorities.

From 2015 to 2017, Montshire is seeking matching gifts to fully fund the David Goudy Warm Welcome Endowment Fund. Established in late 2014 by a generous donor, this endowment ensures Museum access for low-income families. A total of $150,000 must be raised to complete the match.

Other leadership gifts may be designated to key priorities of the Museum, and may offer high-profile naming opportunities:

  • Exhibit development and visiting exhibitions
  • Exhibits and programs related to ecology and the environment
  • Scholarships for educational programs
  • Museum access for families in need
  • Outreach to schools
  • Internships
  • Special initiatives of the Museum Director
  • Key leadership positions, such as Executive Director, Director of Education and Director of Exhibits

Montshire Legacy Circle

The Montshire Legacy Circle was established in 2004 as a way to recognize donors who indicate that they have included the Montshire in their estate plans. Although no documentation is required, the Museum appreciates the opportunity to recognize individuals who have considered the Montshire in their plans. Donors may remain anonymous.

Occasional events and activities are planned for members of the Montshire Legacy Circle. 

Contact Information

For questions or a confidential conversation about your estate plans, please contact Jennifer Rickards, Associate Director, by calling 802-649-2200, ext. 225, or via e-mail at jennifer.rickards@montshire.org.

This outline is prepared as a guide to planning and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation. We encourage you to consult your own legal, accounting, estate, or other professional advisors as you consider options for giving to the Montshire Museum of Science.