Artifact Donations

Thank you for considering donating objects or documents to the History Museum of Mobile. It is through such generosity that our collection of over 117,000 artifacts continues to grow.

Our exhibit and storage areas provide a secure, climate controlled environment that will help preserve the history of Southwest Alabama for future generations. Plus, thousands of visitors learn about our region’s history at the Museum each year. Don’t delay, donate today!

Please see the following Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about donating artifacts. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us:

Nick Beeson
Curator of Collections

Q: What is the procedure for donating artifacts or documents to the History Museum of Mobile?

Drop off your items at the History Museum or mail them to:

Collections Department
History Museum of Mobile
111 South Royal Street
Mobile, AL 36602


Sign a Temporary Custody receipt and deed of gift transferring physical custody of the and ownership to the History Museum of Mobile.
Once assigned an accession number, you will receive a letter informing you of its collection identifier so that you may directly access the donation in the future.

Q: What types of items is the History Museum of Mobile looking for?

The Museum collects artifacts and documents that illuminate the diverse social, cultural, economic, political, military, and religious history of Mobile and the surrounding region. The Museum will be happy to help you find another institution to donate your materials to if we are unable to accept them.

  • We are particularly interested in filling in the gaps in our collection in the following areas:
  • Ethnic and cultural-specific items from Mobile’s diverse populations
  • Items related to Mobile industry and business
  • Wartime items from all wars , but primarily those connected to the homefront in Mobile
  • Items related to local primary and secondary schools
  • Unneeded additions at this time include:
  • Civil War and WWII non-specific material
  • Children’s toys and books
  • Weapons, unless in perfect condition
  • Newspapers of any kind
  • Generic tools and small equipment
  • Generic postcards

Q: My item is not old or particularly unique. Do you still want it?

Not all donations need to document well-known people or momentous events in Mobile’s history. Common, everyday items can also be important, especially if the donor can tell us who used them and when they were used. Similarly, an item does not need to be an antique for it to be valuable to our collection. Items of recent vintage that may someday have an historic context could be of great importance to the future.

Q: Does the Museum purchase objects?

The Museum rarely has funds to purchase items for the collection, so we rely mostly on donated materials.

Q: Will the Museum take my object on loan if I don't want to donate it?

With rare exceptions, the Museum no longer accepts loaned items for reasons other than immediate exhibition purposes.

Q: Will the Museum exhibit the artifacts in my donation?

The Museum cannot guarantee that any object will go on exhibit. Like most museums, only a small fraction of our collection is on display at any given time.

Q: Can I take a tax deduction for my donation?

The fair market value of your donated materials is generally tax deductable. We recommend that you consult your accountant, attorney, or the Internal Revenue Service if you have any questions. If you wish to have your items appraised, please do so before giving them to the Museum.

Q: Can you tell me more about my object, including how much it's worth?

For legal and ethical reasons, the Museum cannot appraise or authenticate objects. To find an appraiser near you, check your local listings.


The History Museum of Mobile does not appraise art, antiques or artifacts. Please contact the following institutions to get in contact with an appraiser or conservator:
International Society of Appraisers
Seattle, WA 206.241.0359
New York, NY 212.889.5404

American Society of Appraisers Virginia 703.478.2228

American Association of Appraisers
Washington, D.C. 800.272.8258

The following organization can refer people to conservators of art and historical artifacts:
American Institute for Conservations (A.I.C.) Washington, D.C. 202.452.9545

Q: I will make a donation only if I can set certain conditions for my object. Are you still interested?

Donation stipulations including, but not limited to, donor recognition and display requirements are not in line with modern museum practices. Many museums find themselves devoting resources trying to adhere to or resolve these types of issues, and we certainly do not wish to create similar problems for our successors.