Artifact Donation FAQ
Is The National WWII Museum still accepting items?
Yes. The Museum is interested in artifacts from all theaters of the war including the American Home Front. The Museum is particularly interested in items used by Americans either in combat or while working at their military jobs. However, we are only collecting a limited selection of items. To find out which items we are accepting, please consult this list before submitting your artifact for consideration. You can also contact our curatorial staff about your particular items.
Is my donation going to sit on a shelf, never to be displayed?
What visitors don’t see on display is just as important as what they do. In telling the story of World War II we depend on a large collection, of which only a small percentage can ever be displayed. Once an object, document or photo is donated, it immediately becomes available to staff and researchers who are working on a variety of projects. We cannot predict what specific uses your items will have, but your generosity will instantly expand the amount of World War II information available to the public!
When will my donation be on exhibit?
The Museum does not guarantee artifacts will ever be exhibited. Once an object, document or photo is donated, it immediately becomes available to staff and researchers who are working on a variety of projects. We cannot predict what specific uses your items will have, but your generosity will instantly and permanently expand the amount of World War II information available to the public!
Will I be notified if my donation goes on exhibit?
Yes. You will be notified by U.S. mail in the event your donation is displayed.
How will my donation be credited if it is ever placed on exhibit?
The Museum allows, within reason, the individual donors to include what they want the credit to read. For example, “Gift of Mr. Bob Smith Jr.” or “Donated in Memory of Bob Smith Sr.”
Will my donated shadow box stay together?
No. Most shadow boxes are not of the archival quality mandated for museum collection storage. Our goal is the long-term preservation of artifacts. To meet that goal, we must house all our artifacts in ways that prevent them from deteriorating. The fabrics, glues, and mounting materials in shadow boxes will likely do significant damage to the items inside over time. To prevent this, we will dismantle the shadow box, and store the individual items according to museum best practices.
What is done with artifacts donated to the Museum?
The National WWII Museum uses artifacts for exhibits organized and displayed in the Museum, traveling exhibits, short-term loan to other museums in the United States, and for research by historians, authors, documentary film producers and students. (Artifacts from the collections of The National WWII Museum have been featured in American Heritage magazine and on The History Channel.)
What The National WWII Museum DOES NOT do with its collections.
The National WWII Museum does not accept artifacts that it cannot reasonably expect to use for its interpretative themes in the present or future. Although an item may indeed be from World War II, we accept only those items that we believe will fulfill our mission. The National WWII Museum does not place its artifacts on “permanent display.”
Will the Museum staff appraise artifacts for donors?
No. The Internal Revenue Service considers such activity by a 501c(3) a conflict of interest. The following agency is available to assist donors with appraisals.
Appraisers Association of America, Inc.
386 Park Avenue South, Suite 2000, New York, NY 10016
212-889-5404 x 10
Or contact the following organization for a list of professional appraisers.
American Society of Appraisers
PO Box 17265
Washington, DC 20041
If you plan to get an appraisal for artifacts, please get them photographed, photocopied and/or appraised before sending them. The National WWII Museum does not offer these services.
Where are the artifacts if they are not on exhibit?
Artifacts are housed in a state-of-the-art facility with an independent heating and cooling system and an independent alarm system. Artifacts are housed in storage containers specifically designed and selected for museum artifacts.
Can I see my items if they are not on display?
Donors are welcome (with an appointment) to bring family members to view their donations if they are not on public display.