Donating Historical Objects

Maine Maritime Museum welcomes the generous donation of objects that will complement and fulfill our collecting vision. We collect artifacts and documents related to Maine’s maritime heritage and its direct global impact, from prehistory to the present. We seek unique and significant objects or exceptional examples of commonplace items. Our mission and the demands of caring for a sizable collection dictate stringent criteria for accepting new acquisitions.

How to Donate

The donation process begins with submitting an Collection Donation Form. If our curatorial staff decides to recommend the acquisition, they will prepare a detailed report using information from this form about the object, its provenance, and its importance to the museum’s collection. All recommendations must be affirmed by the Acquisitions Committee, Executive Director, and appropriate governing committees before the donation can be added to the museum collection. The donation process typically take from four to six weeks, and occasionally longer.

Due to our strict donation procedure, we cannot consider potential acquisitions immediately over the phone or accept unsolicited objects that have been sent to the museum.

Timing & Conditions

  • Our Acquisitions Committee meets monthly to review potential acquisitions. After the Executive Director affirms the Committee’s recommendation, you will be notified of the museum’s decision.
  • For year-end donations, please submit all information no later than December 1.
  • All acquisitions are to be outright and unconditional and are irrevocable upon the formal and physical transfer to the museum.
  • Federal law prevents the museum from providing appraisal values for donated items. The museum will issue a letter confirming acceptance of your donation, but monetary valuations must be issued by a professional appraiser. Donations are tax deductible within IRS guidelines—please consult your tax advisor.

When donating an object, please remember that the museum does not benefit financially from such gifts. Accepting an object obliges the museum to care for that object forever and the conservation costs are considerable. Consider setting up endowment funds to care for donated objects or contributing funds needed for immediate repair or conservation to assist the museum in the continued care of your priceless pieces of history.