Add Your Artifact or Document to the Collection
Thank you for your interest in donating objects or documents to the Chicago History Museum. Every year, new artifacts and documents are added to the collection through the generosity of individuals and corporations. These donations help the Museum fulfill its mission as the city’s chief interpreter of metropolitan Chicago’s history.
The Museum collects artifacts and documents that illuminate the history of the Chicago metropolitan area, which are described in the Museum’s Collecting Scope.
Please consider donating your postcards to the Curt Teich Postcard Archive at the Lake County Discovery Museum or the Chicago Postcard Museum.
The Curt Teich Postcard Archive
The Chicago Postcard Museum
Home Movies and Amateur Films
Please consider donating your home moves and amateur films to the Chicago Film Archive or the South Side Home Movie Project, which is under the direction of Professor Jacqueline Stewart, Department of Radio/Television/Film, Northwestern University.
South Side Home Movie Project ( Northwestern University)
Chicago Film Archive
Chicago World’s Fairs Publications and Souvenirs
The Museum no longer accepts donations of publications or souvenirs from the World’s Columbian Exposition (1893) and A Century of Progress International Exposition (1933-34).
World War II Materials
The Chicago History Museum does not collect material related to Chicagoans’ or other Americans’ service experiences in World War II. The only exceptions that will be considered for donation are materials related to servicemen and women while they were training or stationed in Chicago. For more information on where to donate World War II material download our guide to donating World War II-related materials.
Please note: The Museum does collect material that documents the home front experience in Chicago during World War II.
Due to the volume of offers the Chicago History Museum receives, it cannot accept donated materials unless you first submit a completed donation form online or send one by fax or regular mail. If you have artifacts or documents that you believe would add to the Chicago History Museum's collection please use the donation form on this website to transmit a description of your proposed donation. If you are unable to complete the online form, please call the Chicago History Museum receptionist at 312.642.4600 and request that a copy of the donation form be mailed to you. Please try to include a photograph and measurements of the object or document with your form. You may mail back your completed form to the address below or send it via fax.
Once the form is received, your proposed donation will be assigned to a curator who will evaluate it as a new addition to the collection and contact you within four weeks. You may also be contacted by volunteer curatorial assistants for additional information about your donation. If the curator chooses to accept your donation, the donated material will be recommended to the Collection Committee for consideration at its monthly meeting. Following the meeting a curator or collection manager will contact you regarding next steps. If you have questions, concerns, or issues or you wish to check on the status of your proposed donation, please contact us.