Our collection consists of objects ranging in size from tiny uniform buttons to our historic building itself. Our donors understand Soldiers & Sailors Memorial as a museum that represents those who served from the Civil War through present day, as such we will be a resource to researchers and educators for generations to come. Our artifacts and documents are enormously important in helping to bring history to life. Due to the generous donations of veterans, their families, friends and other donors, the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial & Museum has acquired a collection that is representative of American military service, but the Museum must be somewhat
selective with artifacts it accepts. Our archives, though, are ever growing, and we are particularly seeking additions to our archive of personal stories and wartime letters, diaries and photographs. Please read the guidelines below and contact us concerning any material that you wish to donate to the Museum.
Types of things we accept:
Firearms: Any Civil War or earlier military long-arms or pistols, US military weapons from Spanish American War through modern military rifles and side-arms. Some foreign weapons are acceptable such as German WWI and WWII, some Japanese weapons.
Swords: US Civil War swords, cavalry swords, officer’s swords, artillery swords, presentation swords relic swords excavated from battlefields, Japanese WWII katana and others.
Books and Periodicals: Some. Generally looking for books published in small editions whose content would not be found on the internet such as personal narratives or books about specific campaigns. Please send a list of the titles you wish to donate.
Ephemera: Yes. Wartime ephemera such as brochures, postcards, leaflets, programs, theater tickets and souvenirs will be placed in our archival collection and treated as artifacts. We are not accepting post-war pamphlets and guides to wartime locations like forts, battle sites and memorials, nor postwar association publications.
Film: Some. Send us titles and a photo of the canister. Efforts will be made to transfer the film to a stable digital format, which might result in the loss of the original film; nitrate film will be transferred if possible then discarded for the safety of the collection.
Medals and Insignia: Some. Medals and insignia can be utilized for various purposes. If you submit them in a shadow box, we may disassemble the box to make better use of the individual medals.
News Articles: Post-war feature, internet and other published articles not directly related to the family or veteran’s WWII experiences are only accepted when accompanied by other original WWII materials.
Photographs, Letters and Journals: Yes! Please make the copies you need before sending us the originals. All periods are of interest to us.
Reunion Materials: Anything related to Pennsylvania Civil War regiments especially if related to Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall. We accept other reunion materials to supplement original personal collections.
Photograph Albums and Scrapbooks: Civil War carte-de-visite albums are especially sought when they contain photos of soldiers. Scrapbooks, each are unique, they are evaluated for acquisition individually, but because they tell the personal stories of those who experienced military service, most will be accepted into the collection. We do not collect scrapbooks full of newspaper clippings not directly related to a veteran’s time in service. We might disassemble scrapbooks in a manner consistent with preservation methods; the original structure will be preserved through photocopies. Please do not assemble or disassemble archival materials into a scrapbook before donating.
Service Documents: We will accept copies or original discharge papers that are accompanied by other donation materials, but we are not accepting copies sent without supporting collections.
Shadow Boxes: Some. Depending on the material contained within the shadow box, the Museum may or may not be able to accept it. Shadow boxes containing original medals, patches, insignia, dog tags, etc. will be accepted. Those containing post-WWII reissued medals and other material cannot be accepted. Please note that due to the acidic and harmful nature of most commercially available shadow boxes, the Museum will dismantle the box.
Uniforms: We are seeking US military uniforms from all periods of time. For WWI and after we are looking for uniforms that have all their patches, insignia and ribbon bars, those that are devoid of the things that make them unique are of little interest. Please send us a photo and service information.
Yearbooks, Unit Histories and Newsletters: Items printed during the war years will be placed in our archival collection and treated as artifacts; post-war books written about military history or personalities may go in our library collection or be de-accessioned. Please ask curatorial staff before making or sending copies of unit histories and yearbooks, or before sending reunion newsletters or other reunion materials. Photocopies of published articles and printouts of internet pages are generally not suitable library donations on their own.
WE ARE NOT ACCEPTING:
Books and Periodicals: Some. We are no longer accepting Blue Jackets manuals, Time Life Books or the Navy pictorial booklet or Life. We do not accept ETO versions of Time, Stars & Stripes, but we may be interested in other specific issues. Please send a list of the titles you wish to donate.
Cots: We are no longer accepting cots.
Footlockers: We are not accepting empty footlockers without a personal story. We would like a list of items and/or representative photo before accepting footlocker contents.
Nazi Flags: The Museum no longer accepts Nazi Flags unless signed by U.S. soldier
Newspapers: The Museum is no longer collecting Home Front newspapers. We have quite a large collection already, and know that the archives and microfilm of most large newspapers are housed in their specific cities for both research and imaging if needed. We also do not collect scrapbooks full of clippings not directly related to you or your veteran. We do accept newspaper clippings unless related specifically to you or your veteran.
VHS Movies: We do not accept VHS, DVD, or Blu-ray copies of commercially produced movies. WE DO accept personal oral histories recorded on all media.
Models (Tank, Ship, or Airplane): The Museum is unable to accept post war manufactured models or models built from kits. If you have WWII era built model, we may be interested though so please submit any photographs and information.
EXCEPTIONS AND CONSIDERATIONS
A personal account of any length and/or copies of available service documents are more likely to influence an item’s acceptance; however, every offer is judged on an individual basis. We are always looking for artifacts with a good story. Items offered for donation are reviewed by a collections committee.
Our collection began in 1910 initially with artifacts given by local donors. We continue to grow our collection and actively seek objects that represent all branches and eras of United States military history. If you have military items to donate or questions regarding a donation please contact;
Curator: Michael Kraus
412-621-4253 ext 215
Collections Manager: Lisa Petitta
412-621-4253 ext 214