Royal Naval Museum

HMS Pitcairn, built in the USA, is handed over to crewMedal GroupSurvival kit issued to naval air crew, 1945Printed broadside celebrating victory at Battle of TrafalgarThe first WRNS recritment poster, 1917

Donations to the collections

Offering Items or Collections to the Royal Naval Museum


The Royal Naval Museum is always seeking to enhance its collections via donations, purchase or loans. Unfortunately as our storage and display space is limited we are required to be relatively selective in the new items we can acquire. All offers are discussed by the Collection Curators at a monthly Accessions Meeting where a decision is made in line with our Collecting Policy. The value of the item for display and research is taken into consideration together with any duplication that may occur in the existing collection.

Unfortunately the Museum is unable to offer guarantees concerning if or when objects will be displayed. Like most museums we simply do not have the display space to show all our collections. Items not on display form a valuable research collection and may be used in online exhibitions, temporary exhibitions, learning workshops or maybe loaned to other museums for display. 

In order for us to thoroughly assess your offer please write or email (see our contact pages) giving as much information on your item(s) as possible. Details such as size, condition, provenance and if possible a photograph will assist the curators to make a decision.

Transfer of Title

If your offer is accepted you will be required to sign an Entry Form when your item is received by the Museum. By signing this form you will be transferring ownership of the item to the Museum and confirming that it is either yours to offer or that you are depositing the item on behalf of the owner with their consent. You will be sent a copy of the form to retain as a receipt. Once your donation has been accessioned into the collection you will receive a formal thank you letter notifying you of the unique Accession Number allocated to your item(s).

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1) Will the RNM be interested in my material?

We have to be quite selective but we would rather be given the opportunity to assess your offer than miss something of importance!

Q2) What type of item does the RNM collect?

The NMRN is interested in acquiring material relating directly to the Royal Navy and those who have served in the Royal Navy. The Museum is particularly interested in any personal stories accompanying the item(s).

Q3) Can you value my items before I decide what to do with them?

Unfortunately we are not able to give valuations but your local auctioneer may be able to assist.

Q4) Can I send or bring my items to you?

Please contact the Museum first to arrange an appointment with the appropriate curator. Mixed collections may come under several curators and so we would prefer to be given the opportunity to assess the item by post or email to ensure your offer is directed to the most relevant person. Please also contact the Museum before posting items as this can save on unnecessary postage costs.

Q5) Can I leave items to the Museum in my will?

Yes. Please send us details of the offer and we will evaluate it and advise on whether the Museum will be able to accept in line with our current Collecting Policy. Unfortunately we are not able to guarantee that when the time comes circumstances have not changed, for example the Museum may have acquired similar items in the meantime and as such we may no longer be in a position to accept your bequest.

Q6) Will the RNM accept my items on loan?

Unfortunately in line with most other museums, loans are relatively problematic. Due to restrictions in storage and display space we can only accept items on loan for display purposes and then only for a set period

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