The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum was established by an act of Congress that mandated the creation of a "permanent living memorial to the victims of the Holocaust." It is the items that belonged to those victims and survivors—as well as other materials that relate their stories, experiences, and histories—that form the basis of the Museum's collection. Many of the objects in the collection have been donated by individuals who directly experienced the Holocaust or by their families, and those objects are often imbued with tremendous emotion, personal meaning, and historical importance.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum lends its artifacts as a means of encouraging and developing a greater understanding and appreciation for the Holocaust and Holocaust-related history. Outgoing loans may be made to other museums and institutions engaged in nonprofit, educational, and scholarly pursuits. Loan applications must be made at least nine months in advance of the loan start date. To learn more about how you can borrow artifacts and to initiate the loan process, please consult our online guidance.
The Museum’s library and archival materials are available for consultation and scanning by on-site researchers in the reading rooms during normal hours of operation. However, several options do exist to support the research needs of people unable to travel to the Museum. Based on the restrictions placed on a collection by its donor, and in compliance with US copyright law, it may be possible to obtain duplicates of items from the Museum’s collection. To learn more about these services, please consult our online guidance.
Donations of Artifacts
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is constantly developing its collection of original documents, photographs, and artifacts relating to the events of the Holocaust and the experiences of individuals whose lives were directly impacted by those events. Many of the materials on display in our exhibits, on tour through our travelling exhibitions, or available for onsite researchers were donated by Holocaust survivors or families with a direct personal connection to the Holocaust. If you or your family members have such materials and would be interested in speaking with our curators about a possible artifact donation, please fill out the online form, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, call 202.488.2649, or print and mail this form. Read more about common donations and questions from donors.