Headquarters Artifact Collection
The Curator Branch holds objects documenting and representing the history of the United States Navy. Lending artifacts and specimens for exhibition, research, and study is an integral part of the Naval History and Heritage Command’s (NHHC’s) goal to make collections accessible to the widest possible audience.
Historical materials may be made available on an "as is, where is" basis for loan to organizations that are eligible and qualified under the provisions of federal statutes (including but not limited to Title 10 of the U.S. Code, Chapters 2572 and 8765 and Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 79); Department of Defense regulations; and Department of the Navy directives.
The Branch supports requests for specific thematic historical displays from Navy commands and museums. These include federal agencies; State and municipal organizations and museums; memorial ships; veteran's groups; non-federal, non-profit organizations and museums; and National Capital Region short-term command quarterdeck displays. The Curator Branch is unable to honor requests for long-term generic or ceremonial quarterdeck materials, office decorations, and generic outdoor items.
Generally, items may be borrowed for display as specified below:
- Veteran and ship reunion groups may borrow items for the period of their reunion event (up to 30 days);
- Military and Government organizations may borrow items for up to three years;
Loan periods may be renewed, provided that borrowers continue to perform the expected accountability and care, and the items are not required for other NHHC or Navy requirements.
Prospective borrowers should submit requests in writing at least 120 days in advance of their exhibition event to allow the Naval History and Heritage Command to evaluate the request, locate items, and prepare them for shipment. The volume of inquiries usually far exceeds the available staff resources, and this limits the number of requests that may be approved. Please review our How to Borrow guidance and our Conditions resource before submitting your request, and contact the Curator Branch with any questions.
Underwater Archaeology Artifacts
The NHHC Underwater Archaeology and Conservation Laboratory manages an artifact loan program which allows for Navy-owned artifacts recovered from submerged sites to be curated and displayed at approved facilities for the purposes of public education and academic research. Currently, over 6,000 artifacts are on loan to qualified national and international museums. To learn more, contact the Underwater Archaeology Branch.