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Object donations

The Science Museum Group collections have been built up over the past 150 years and are very rich, although some gaps still exist. Therefore, the Museum welcomes offers of material to its collections.

However, the costs of caring for our collections are high and it is important that we do not duplicate material or objects that fall outside our collecting policy. In view of this, we are not able to accept everything that it offered to us. Instead, we need to know more about the item(s) being offered before we can decide whether or not they are suitable for the collection.

How to donate

  • Contact the Museum in writing or by telephone before bringing in your objects—contacting us in advance can help avoid disappointment
  • If possible send a snapshot so that we can see what the objects look like.

It may be that your donation is exactly what we have been looking for as it fits in with our Collecting Policy, is in good condition and has a full history. In this case it will be accepted into our permanent collections.

Or it may be that your object would be useful for work with education groups for example, in which case, with your permission, it would not be accessioned but would form part of our valued "handling" collection.

However, it may be that for a variety of reasons we cannot accept your offer. Please do not be offended. It could be that we already have a similar example in the collection. It could be that your object is simply too big or that it is of a type that we do not collect (but another museum might). Our staff will be able to advise you in this case.

Hopefully your object is just what we are looking for, although it may not be put on display for some time. The Museum cares for millions of objects, and exhibitions and displays have to be carefully planned, often years in advance.

Meanwhile, your object will be carefully stored and may be drawn upon for special exhibitions or lent for exhibition at other registered institutions. It will also be available for research, study and education purposes.

Please do note, however, that:

  • The Museum does not normally accept material on long-term loan.
  • Material is not accepted with specific conditions attached.
  • Unless there are compelling and legitimate reasons, hazardous objects and substances will not be accepted under any circumstances (eg firearms, objects containing asbestos, explosive, flammable, poisonous, potentially carcinogenic or radioactive material).

Contact us

Please note that our acquisition policy is quite strict so we cannot guarantee being able to accept your donation. We also cannot give the valuation of any object.

Enquiries Co-ordinator
Collections Dept
Science Museum


Part of the Science Museum Group