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. The process begins with submitting an Collection Donation Form. If our curatorial staff decides to recommend the acquisition, they will prepare a detailed report, including the object’s description, condition, date, attribution, provenance (origin and history of ownership), and importance to the museum’s collection. This recommendation must be affirmed by the Acquisitions Committee, Executive Director, and appropriate governing committees. This process can take from four to six weeks, and occasionally longer.
Because of the information required, all offers must be submitted through a Collection Donation Form. We cannot consider potential acquisitions immediately over the phone. Please do not send unsolicited objects to the museum—they will not be accepted.
You may complete the Collection Donation Form here.

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 consider that the museum does not benefit financially from such gifts. In fact, accepting an object obliges the museum to care for that object forever, and the costs are considerable. Some donors are financially able to set up endowment funds to care for their donated objects; others may contribute funds needed for immediate repair or conservation.