The Smithsonian has launched its Open Access Initiative. Images of objects from the NMAAHC collection are now available to view, download, and share through a CC0 license.​

Shared Stewardship and Ethical Returns

Have questions about our Shared Stewardship and Ethical Returns Policy? 


The National Museum of African American History and Culture, like all other Smithsonian museums, hopes to benefit from donations of historical artifacts, archival documents, and works of art. Before accepting anything for the National Collection, the Museum must evaluate all material. This process involves, but is not limited to, the following steps:

  1. Submission of a Collections Information Form by a potential donor
  2. Consideration by curatorial staff to determine whether the object/collection warrants further evaluation for potential acquisition
  3. If the object/collection warrants further evaluation, physical review of the object/collection by curatorial staff
  4. Verification of the authenticity of the object/collection
  5. Presentation of a proposal to acquire the object/collection by a Museum Curator to the NMAAHC Collections Committee
  6. Review and vote by the NMAAHC Collections Committee to recommend accepting or not accepting the object/collection
  7. If accepted, issuance of the Deed of Gift

If you have an important object/collection you believe the Museum should consider, start by submitting our collections information form at the link below.

Tell Us About Your Object

*Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Museum’s standard operations have been significantly curtailed. As a result, non-mission-critical functions, such as the shipment of material to our collections storage facility, are being postponed. Therefore, if we determine that any offered material warrants a physical review, we will be requesting that potential donors hold on to their material a little longer so that we may work to ship your material once we return to our regular operations.

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