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Museum curators work tirelessly across six continents to meet with donors, many of whom are survivors or liberators and their families, who can provide firsthand context, narrative, and testimony for each item entrusted to the Museum. The Museum collects materials that document the prewar, wartime, and immediate postwar experience of all victims of Nazi persecution as well as items that document the experiences of refugees, liberators, witnesses, bystanders, and perpetrators.

How to Donate

  1. Consult the list of common donations below to find out which items we collect. Do not send any items to the Museum without first speaking to one of our curators in order to make proper arrangements.
  2. Scan or photograph the artifact you wish to donate and share it with curator@ushmm.org.
  3. Complete our online donation form, e-mail curator@ushmm.org, or call 202.488.2649. The process may require additional documentation.

Online Donation Form

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to common questions from our donors about legal gift agreements, appraisals, and more.

Learn More

Common Donations

Art

The Museum collects artwork created by children and adults in hiding, forced laborers, witnesses, partisans and refugees, as well as those in the camps and ghettos. We also collect wartime artwork created on the homefront as well as post-period works by survivors that directly reflect their personal experiences during the Holocaust.

Clothing, Uniforms, and Textiles

We seek concentration camp uniforms and other garments and textiles (including patches, forced markings, and armbands) worn and used during the Holocaust. The Museum does not accept textiles which are inauthentic or without provenance information, such as Nazi uniform pieces brought back to the United States by Allied military personnel, or material purchased at auction or at flea markets.

Documents, Correspondence, and Diaries

We collect original documents and photographs that reflect the experiences of individuals and communities. We do not accept photocopies of original material still in private hands.

Film and Recorded Sound

The Museum actively seeks to expand its collection of moving image documentation of Holocaust history to make it the largest central repository worldwide of such materials for research. If you have original films, broadcast radio or sound recordings, or related materials, like a camera, diary, or posters, you would like to donate, contact staff at filmvideo@ushmm.org.

Liberation Photographs

Photographs of concentration camps taken by the US Army Signal Corps during or after liberation were widely distributed and brought home by US troops. For more information about liberation photographs and to view some common images, refer to this article. We will review your liberation photographs to determine if we have a copy in our collections. Be prepared to provide the curators with copies (including the back of the photo if it includes inscriptions), information about the photographer, geographic location, and dates (if known). We may acquire photographs with handwritten notations on the verso.

Medals and Insignia

We collect medals and insignia on a case-by-case basis. Be prepared to provide information about how the item was acquired and, if possible, the original owner of the insignia and where and when it was worn.

Nazi Flags and Regalia

Due to the large number of Nazi flags and banners regularly offered to the Museum, we can only accept flags and banners of a specific size that accommodate our current exhibit needs. Provide a detailed description and the exact dimensions of your flag or banner to the curators.

Oral Histories

The Museum collects oral histories with Holocaust survivors, witnesses, and bystanders. We acquire personal interviews and public presentations in both video and audio formats. If you are planning to conduct an oral history interview and are looking for suggestions, see this online guidance. We cannot accept individual copies of oral histories done by other institutions or organizations without the express written permission of these organizations.

Personal Photographs

We collect prewar, wartime, and postwar photographs take between the 1930s and 1950 depicting life before the Holocaust, wartime experiences, and the reconstruction of life after the war. Be prepared to help us with identifying information related to persons, places, and events depicted in the photographs, as well as the larger context of the individual or family’s Holocaust experiences. If you are not willing to donate original photographs, we can arrange for reproduction. See above for details of liberation photographs.

Propaganda

The Museum collects Nazi-produced propaganda as well as anti-Nazi propaganda.

Three-Dimensional Objects

We collect objects used, acquired, or created by forced laborers, witnesses, partisans, refugees, as well as people in hiding and in the camps and ghettos. We must, however, consider size of the objects and their physical condition. Provide dimensions as well as other details about the wartime owner/creator, geographic location, and dates (if known).

Weapons

We do not collect Nazi or Allied military weaponry, including (but not limited to) guns, swords, daggers, and explosive devices.


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