We’re interested in your maritime history!

Think those coveralls your grandpa wore on while working on the coal delivery dock aren’t museum-worthy? Think again! Wondering what to do with your grandmother’s old typewriter from her days at the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company? There may be a place for it right here at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum.

The Museum is currently seeking and actively collecting artifacts, letters, and memorabilia pertaining to the everyday lives of Wisconsinites. Some examples are work-related objects from dock and shipbuilding employees and personal materials that reflect life in a port city or on the Great Lakes. We are particularly interested in material culture pertaining to typically underrepresented peoples including women and people of color.

We also accept artifacts recovered from submerged cultural resources (shipwrecks!) prior to 1988.

If you have something that might be of interest to the Museum, please fill out the contact form below. Photographic attachments are strongly encouraged.

Donation Guidelines

To keep our staff safe and control what additions we make to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum’s collection, we have instituted the following rules regarding donations:

  • Guest services staff cannot accept any artifact donations at the front desk. All donations must be formally approved by our Collections Committee.

  • To prevent the spread of COVID-19, all donations must be approved by the Collections Committee prior to being brought into the Museum, we cannot accept any items for temporary deposit.

  • The Museum has limited storage and exhibit space, so we cannot promise to place any donation on exhibit, or hold any donation in perpetuity.   

  • The Museum assumes that donations are offered in good faith and that donors have the legal authority to transfer custody and ownership of donated items to the Museum. The Wisconsin Maritime Museum will not knowingly accept any item acquired by either illegal or unethical means.  

Research Requests: https://www.wisconsinmaritime.org/collections/research-requests/

On-Site Research 

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Library Reading Room is currently closed and we cannot accept in-person research appointments. Our Archives Assistant is available to assist researchers remotely. 

  1. Can you appraise/tell me the value of my object/art?
  • For legal and ethical reasons, the Museum cannot appraise or authenticate objects. Below are resources to find an appraiser near you.

American Society of Appraisers

Appraisers Association of America

International Society of Appraisers

  • If you are interested in contributing images or objects to the Museum's collection, add a brief description of your attachments here.
  • Drop files here or
      Please attach any image files you are interested in adding to the Museum's collection.

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