Donate an Object

The New Zealand Maritime Museum is grateful for the generosity of the maritime community for its support and gifts to the Museum collection over many years. 

As a charitable trust we rely on donations to enhance and grow the Museum collection. The vast majority of items in the Museum collection were donated by people or organisations interested in preserving our maritime history.

If you would like to donate an object to the Museum please send an email to with the following details:

• Description of the object(s)
• How you came to own the object and any known history about it
• Condition of the object(s)
• Photographs of the object(s)

Please note that all donations are considered in the light of the Museum’s established collecting areas, their provenance, story and condition. 

Museums are not able to accept material which has been acquired illegally or unethically, for example from protected shipwrecks or archaeological sites.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I just drop my objects at the reception?
The Museum reception is not authorised to accept object donations. Please contact the collections team to arrange an appointment. 

Does the Museum do valuations?
No. If you have something you would like something valued please contact an auction house or valuer.

Do you accept items on long-term loan?
The Museum prefers not to accept items on long-term loan. However, we do sometimes borrow items on short-term loan for exhibitions. If you’re not sure, please get in touch to discuss further - Alternatively, you may wish to consider donating your object.

Will my donated object be on display?
Not necessarily. We do not have the space or resources to display all the items in our collection, and some are too fragile for long-term display. However, we strive to make our collection as accessible as possible, for example via our new Online Collection database, or by research request. 

Why collect objects if they are not going to be on display?
Items not on display are still very useful for research and education. They provide important information to Museum staff when preparing exhibitions and education programmes.

Some items are not suitable for display because of their condition or size but are still valuable for the preservation of our maritime history. For example we have a lot of old sails in our collection which record changes in sail design, materials and construction but are far too fragile and bulky for display.

Keeping the collection in controlled conditions, away from light, heat and moisture slows down the process of deterioration and allows us to preserve our maritime history for generations to come.

So if you think about it that way, in the long run ‘resting’ items in our collection store is just as important for our maritime history as putting them on display.

Can I view collection items that are not on display?
Yes! If you would like to take a look at items in our collection, please contact the Collections Team - so we can arrange to have the items available. We will need at least 10 working days’ notice please.

Also, can search our Online Collection database – which represents a portion of our total collection and will have more records added on a regular basis.