Skip to main content
Related Content
  • Collections
  • Regulations and Guidance
Document Type
  • About NHHC
Wars & Conflicts
File Formats
  • PDF (Portable Document Format)
Location of Archival Materials

Donating Items to the Collection

Uniforms in NMAS collection

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 send us an email a to find out more about our donation process. 

*Please note: The National Museum of the American Sailor is currently undergoing a collections inventory project to help us define strengths and weaknesses in the collections. During this time, the museum will mainly consider donations related to the following themes: 

  • Artifacts and Archival Records related to the United States Navy Sailor, 1775-1940 
  • Artifacts and Archival Records related to the United States Navy Sailor, 1955-Present  
  • Boot camp company photographs of any era 

In the meantime, we invite you to watch our Collections Conversations video that highlights the overall "Donation Process."


Archival boxes at NMAS

Donation FAQs

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 (which can be made available upon request). 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;

(2) International Society of Appraisers;

(3) Appraisers Association of America

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.

Published: Tue Aug 23 15:21:31 EDT 2022