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Thank you for your interest in donating to the Naval History and Heritage Command Photo Archives.  Please continue to check our website for future updates.

Photo Donation Page Banner


Photo Archive: Donation Requirements and Procedures


Thank you for your interest in donating photographs to the Photo Archive of the Naval History and Heritage Command. The Naval History and Heritage Command Photo Archive collects photographs related to the U.S. Navy (or other navies when specifically associated with U.S. involvement or historical events) with specific emphasis on ships, aviation, places, wars/events, activities, and significant individuals associated with naval history. Photographs in the collection reflect both official and unofficial naval viewpoints and consist of donations and transfers made by both the Navy and the public. Formats include daguerreotype, glass plate negatives, prints, transparencies, slides, and negatives. The general date range of the collection consists of mid-19th century to the 1990s.

 Photographs accepted for acquisition/donation must possess the following qualities:

  • Original analog or born digital photographs. No copies or scans will be accepted except under specific circumstances – see below guidance.

  • Be of a subject matter with specific naval historic or research value, such as identifiable ships, aircraft, places, events, individuals, and activities. Unidentified people, places, ships, events, etc. may not be accepted or retained if part of a donated collection due to the lack of research value or ability of staff to determine identification.

  • Have no copyright or user restrictions. The photo section will not accept donations by which the donor places restrictions on their use by the public. The photo section will not accept donations that are part of the collection of another institution or organization.

  • Not be damaged beyond reasonable repair or pose any conservation threat to the collection (such as in the case of mold).

  • Have no classification other than unclassified. The Photo Archive will not accept materials marked classified or secret.

***exception to copied or scanned photographs: only under very specific circumstances, and at the discretion of the section head of the Photo Archive, will digital copies be accepted as donation. Digital copy images must fill a collecting or subject matter gap that would not be otherwise be available in the Photo Archive.


Steps to donate your photographs or albums to the Photo Archive:

1) Download and complete the Photograph Donation Proposal Worksheet.
2) If possible, take several digital photographs of the images in the collection in order to give staff a representative example of what is offered as a donation.
3) Email the Donation Proposal Worksheet and the digital photographs to the Photo Archive at:


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the photo archive at 202-433-2765 or

Published: Thu May 23 08:51:58 EDT 2024