Donate Historical Items
If you are considering donating any items to the library or museum, please read these guidelines. Please call before visiting with or sending any material to the Society. Include your name and address for acknowledgement with any materials that you send.
Note on Appraisals
For the protection of the donor, MHS can not conduct appraisals for tax purposes, nor can staff appraise items as a service to visitors. It is the responsibility of the donor to have the donation appraised before any material is donated to MHS. You may want to contact someone on this list of appraisers. This list is offered as a service, without endorsement.
All Acquisitions must be compatible with our stated mission: "…to preserve the heritage and history of Maine…"
Documents and artifacts will be accepted if they are relevant to our collecting criteria, as outlined in the Society’s Collections Policy, and do not duplicate a document or artifact already in the collection. The relevance to the collection must be shown through its provenance, defining its association to Maine's history. Materials can be collected that have documented associations to individuals, residences, businesses and other organizations that are or have been active within the boundaries of the State of Maine.
Materials without documentation can be collected if they can be proven to have been made in Maine. The more known about the object, such as "where and when was it made, and by whom?" and "who owned and/or used it and what was it used for?" the more likely it is that the object will find a home at the Maine Historical Society. It is extremely helpful to have all information relevant to the object's history and use in writing.
The museum holdings include costumes and textiles, decorative arts, Native American artifacts and archaeological material, political memorabilia, military acts, and domestic artifacts reflecting upon life in Maine. The diverse collection serves as the foundation for the Maine Historical Society exhibition program.
Library holdings include, but are not limited to, books, newspapers, periodicals, pamphlets, maps, diaries, census data, brochures and ephemera in all format/media including microfilms, video tapes, and CD ROM.
Preference is given to acquisitions in the following areas: works of non-fiction concerning Maine history, biography and genealogy; works that document and interpret Maine's regional content, particularly in connection with New England and eastern Canada; reference works that assist in the research, documentation, and interpretation of all aspects of Collections; and selective historical fiction relating to Maine.
Special Collections may also include manuscripts, archives, photographic materials, prints, broadsides, scrapbooks, maps, architectural and engineering drawings, and paper ephemera relating to the history of Maine and its people. Ideally, artifacts should be stable and in good condition, and MHS must be able to provide adequate care for it as determined by established, professional standards.
Gifts to the Society will be made without restrictions, and the owner must have clear and legal title to that artifact, and that title must be transferred to MHS.
Contact Information - Museum Items
Curator of the Museum Collection
Maine Historical Society
489 Congress Street
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774–1822 x224
Contact Information - Books, Documents & Manuscripts
Head of Library Services
489 Congress Street
Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774–1822 x207
If you are considering making a donation, or have questions, please have the object information and supporting materials available when you call. We will discuss the material with you, review donation procedures, and in some cases make an appointment to see the material in person, or arrange for you to send a photograph of the material offered.