Our collection grows every year through the generosity of donors. If you are interested in donating to the National Museum of the American Sailor, please complete and return a Donation Proposal Form. You should include three-to-four images total of the items you wish to donate with the form, which can be found here. Please mail or email the completed form back to the museum.
Forms can be mailed or emailed to the address below:
The National Museum of the American Sailor
ATTN: Collections Manager
2531 Sheridan Road
Great Lakes, IL 60088
Can I mail or drop off a donation without notifying the museum?
No, the museum does not accept any donations without a donation proposal form. This policy is because the museum does not accept all offered donations. A donation could be rejected for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common reasons an item is rejected include:
- The museum already has multiple copies of the item in question
- The item offered does not fit the vision and mission of the museum
- The item could contain contaminants that pose a health-safety risk to museum staff and visitors
How are potential donations reviewed?
A committee comprised of museum staff review offered donations to make sure the items fit our collection guidelines, the donated items fill a hole in our collection, and that the museum has the resources to care for the donated items.
Can the National Museum of the American Sailor appraise my donation for its monetary value?
Museum staff are prohibited by law from providing appraisals of the monetary value of materials proposed for donation or for any other reason. If you wish to judge the potential financial value of an item for insurance or sale, you may wish to contact a professional appraiser who will appraise historical items for a fee. To find a licensed appraiser in your area, contact:
(1) American Society of Appraisers http://www.appraisers.org/;
(2) International Society of Appraisers http://www.isa-appraisers.org/;
(3) Appraisers Association of America http://www.appraisersassoc.org/
Can the National Museum of the American Sailor buy my artifacts or documents?
No, the Museum does not purchase items. All historical materials in the Museum’s collection are donated by individuals or organizations.
Can I require the National Museum of the American Sailor to exhibit my donation?
The Museum cannot guarantee or promise that any objects or documents donated to its collection will be exhibited. Only a small fraction of the collection is displayed, but all items in the collection are otherwise used for publicly beneficial research and learning.
If I donate items, can I or a relative ask for them back in the future?
Upon signing a Deed of Gift to transfer legal ownership of the materials to the Museum, you forfeit all rights to donated items. The Museum cannot return or “lend back” materials.
Does the National Museum of the American Sailor accept long-term loans instead of an outright donation?
The Museum does not accept long-term loans.
Is my donation to the National Museum of the American Sailor tax-deductible?
Yes, your donation is tax-deducible. Speak to your financial advisor about the necessary steps.