Donate an Object

Nearly 100 Years of collecting and still counting


“I chose the National World War I Museum as a ‘home’ for my husband’s extensive collection because I wished to honor his many years of dedication to the preservation of WWI memorabilia. I wanted to assure the protection of his collection and to provide for its active use, benefiting present and future generations. The things which shaped my decision to offer the collection to the Museum were its national status, my discussion with collector friends about the caliber of the Museum, and my visit to the Museum which showed me the patriotism and unflagging support over the years of the Kansas City citizenry for the Museum.”

- Wanda Hauber, who donated the largest collection of historical objects given by one donor in the Museum's history in 2009. The extraordinary collection was that of her late husband, Carl Hauber.

The Museum, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, has been adding to its world-class collection since 1920. It continues to actively collect objects and documents from all the belligerent countries in World War I, as well as historical materials relating to the Liberty Memorial, which is a National Historic Landmark and Congressionally-recognized memorial. View some of the Museum's recent acquisitions and accession records.


Specifically, the Museum is seeking:

  • European U-boat and navy uniforms
  • African American, Hispanic, and Native American materials connected to World War I
  • American military women uniforms and other items from their service
  • Published unit histories and state/county service personnel rosters

View a full list of WWI items the Museum would like to add to its collection.

View full list of nearly 9,500 library titles available in the Edward Jones Research Center.


If you have a potential donation, please contact the appropriate curatorial staff in advance if you wish to bring any items to the Museum for approval.

Three-Dimensional Objects (Uniforms, weapons, gas masks, etc.)
Senior Curator Doran Cart
816.888.8120
dcart@theworldwar.org

Two-Dimensional Objects (Photographs, posters, letters, etc.)
Archivist & Edward Jones Research Center Manager Jonathan Casey
816.888.8121
jcasey@theworldwar.org

 

The questions below will help you determine if you are interested in donating an item to the Museum and how to begin that process.


What does the Museum collect?
The Museum collects objects and documents related to World War I (1914-19), the conflict’s subsequent impact on the global community, and the history of the Liberty Memorial. This includes, but is not limited to, uniforms, equipment, weapons, books, posters, photographs, and personal papers from all nations involved in World War I.

How do I determine if the Museum is interested in receiving my object?
The best way to determine if your object would enhance the Museum’s collection is to contact members of its curatorial team before visiting the Museum. For three-dimensional objects (uniforms, weapons, equipment, etc.) contact Doran Cart (Senior Curator) at dcart@theworldwar.org or 816.888.8120. For two-dimensional objects (documents, photographs, books, etc.) contact Jonathan Casey (Archivist & Edward Jones Research Center Manager) at jcasey@theworldwar.org or 816.888.8121.

I’m only in the area for a short amount of time and I couldn’t make an appointment. Can I still donate my object?
A Museum representative can check to see if a member of the curatorial team is available should you arrive without an appointment. If they are unavailable, we cannot accept your donation. We would encourage you to contact a member of the curatorial team (listed above) to determine if the Museum would be interested in receiving your donation at a later time.

Can I leave my donation with another Museum staff member?
Only members of the Museum’s curatorial team are allowed to accept donations. If a member of the Museum’s curatorial team is unavailable, we cannot accept your donation.

Why doesn’t the Museum accept all donations?
The Museum’s collection began in 1920 and is the most diverse in the world. While there are still many objects and documents from around the world that would enhance the Museum’s collection, it also contains many of the most commonly found objects and documents associated with World War I and the Museum may not be in need of expanding its collection of particular items.

If the Museum accepts my donation, what happens?
The Museum will provide you with a gift acknowledgement letter confirming the donation, together with the IRS tax form (if requested). The Museum is unable to provide a monetary valuation of the donated items. A valuation, should you require one, can be made by a qualified appraiser prior to the Museum receiving the donation. To take advantage of your deduction, you must file tax form 1040 and, depending on the value of your donation, tax form 8283. To ensure that you receive the maximum tax benefit, it is recommended that you consult with your own accountant, attorney, and/or the Internal Revenue Service. You may also consult Internal Revenue Service Publication No. 526, Charitable Contributions, and Publication No. 561, Determining the Value of Donated Property.

Can you guarantee that you will exhibit my items?
All objects are accepted unconditionally into the official collection of the Museum (this is called ‘accessioned’). The unique collection is used in two ways: research and exhibition. Many of the objects the Museum accessions are used by researchers to better understand the conditions and impact of the war. The Museum’s archives and library holdings are used by scholars to examine important questions and enrich our understanding of history and events of the time. Therefore, a Museum does more than exhibit objects and documents. Should the Museum accept a donation, there is no commitment that the object or document will be on exhibit at the Museum at any point in time. However, the object or document is still considered to be a part of the Museum’s collection, which is the most diverse in the world.