The Wisconsin Maritime Museum is continually expanding its collections in order to better tell the stories of our shared maritime history in Wisconsin and the Great Lakes region. The Museum maintains many types of collections, including artifacts, photographs, manuscripts and archival materials, blueprints, maps, films and videos, ships logs and other research materials. We rely on the generosity of donors to help fulfill our mission through collecting historically significant items.
The cost of acquiring, processing, preserving and providing access to collections is substantial. Therefore, all items offered for donation are reviewed by Museum staff, the Collections Committee and the Board of Trustees before being approved and accepted into the collection.
The Wisconsin Maritime Museum is currently collecting items directly related to:
The Wisconsin Maritime Museum carefully considers every item offered for donation to the collections. In order to do that, we need your help in gathering as much information as possible about the items you wish to donate.
The first step is to contact the museum about your donation. You will be asked to complete a donation form and provide photographs of the item(s) you wish to donate. The Museum staff will review the information you provide and contact you regarding your offer of a donation.
Next, potential donations are reviewed by the Collections Committee, which meets 4-6 times per year. Once your donation has been reviewed by the Collections Committee and the Board of Trustees, the Museum will inform you about the status of your donation and mail you a thank you letter and an official Deed of Gift form if your items are accepted.
You must contact the Museum staff ahead of time before you deliver or send any items to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum. Items brought to the Museum without prior notice will not be accepted.
The Wisconsin Maritime Museum has a policy, approved by the Board of Trustees, of changing materials on exhibit in order to preserve collections from ultraviolet light, dust and natural deterioration. Therefore, for the reasons stated above, no donation can be accepted for permanent exhibition.
The Wisconsin Maritime Museum is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and your donation is tax-deductible to the extent provided by law.
Museum representatives are prohibited from providing appraisals or any information on the monetary value of items donated to the collections. For help finding a professional appraiser, please see:
Appraisers Association of America
386 Park Avenue South Suite 2000
New York, NY 10016
American Society of Appraisers
555 Herndon Parkway Suite 125
Herndon, VA 20170
National Association of Professional Appraisers
234 Lewis Wharf
Boston, MA 02110
Please contact the Registrar/Collections Manager Caitlin Clyne by email or toll free by phone at 1-866-724-2356. Again, please contact the Museum to discuss any artifact donations before bringing them to the museum.