The museum actively collects items related to the African American experience in Iowa. If you’re interested in donating objects to the museum, carefully read the information below and fill out the form or contact our curatorial staff. Please do not bring items to the museum without an appointment.
Have Something to Donate?
Here’s our criteria:
Type of Object
We collect a wide range of objects, including household items, textiles, clothing/accessories, fine art, documents, photographs, and scrapbooks. We also collect books and reference material related to African American history and culture for our library.
Our primary focus is objects, documents, and photographs that directly relate to Iowa’s African American history. We also consider donations with a national or international focus that help provide context to Iowa’s history and/or aid in the understanding of the state’s African American community.
We consider objects from any period that help tell the story of Iowa’s African Americans. Objects don’t have to be “old!”
Learn About Our Collections
Check out our collections to understand how and where your item may be used.
The Permanent Collection is the museum’s primary collecting focus. Objects in this collection have been considered and approved by the curator using the museum’s scope of collections statement and accession criteria outlined in the current collections management policy.
This collection includes objects and archival material (documents, oral histories, publications, digital media, etc.). These historically valued objects are deemed non-expendable and are afforded every effort toward continuing preservation.
The Education Collection consists of items intended for hands-on use, educational tours, off-site programming, demonstrations, and exhibition. They’ll be subject to general wear and tear. These items are not guaranteed to be kept in perpetuity.
The museum maintains a collection of books and reference material that relates to African American history or literature. Library materials are intended for use by staff and the community. They aren’t subject to special handling or guaranteed to be kept in perpetuity.
The museum maintains a collection of working files (also referred to as “vertical files”). The working files typically don’t hold original documents, but rather photocopies or secondary sources such as newspaper clippings. Resource material is arranged in topical and biographical files. The vertical files are intended for use by staff and researchers.
Have an item to donate? Fill out the form below and a staff member will contact you soon.