Artifact Donation

Thank you for your interest in the BMI and for considering the museum as a repository for your possessions.

The following information provides guidelines for donating artifacts and archival materials to the BMI as outlined in our collecting policy and in accordance with our museum’s mission statement. We are happy to discuss your gift offer or answer any questions you may have. Please contact one of the following:

Jane Woltereck, Director of Collections & Exhibitions…jwoltereck@thebmi.org…410.727.4808 x146
Matt Shirko, Archivist…mshirko@thebmi.org…410.727.4808 x112
Robin Matty, Curatorial Assistant…rmatty@thebmi.org…410.727.4808 x312

The mission of the Baltimore Museum of Industry is to collect, preserve, and interpret the industrial and technological heritage of the Baltimore region for the public by presenting educational programs and exhibits that explore the stories of Maryland’s industries and the people who created and worked in them.

To help achieve this vision and mission, the BMI shall collect, research, preserve, exhibit, and interpret artifacts in accordance with the collections policy. We celebrate past, present, and future innovations of Maryland industry and its people through dynamic educational experiences representing People, Place, and Product.

Artifacts may be accepted for the Permanent Collection, Research Center, and the Teaching Collection. The permanent collection is controlled by museum staff and requires special considerations and permissions for use. This helps ensure that your gift will be preserved as long as possible. The teaching collection is actively used for hands-on programming and discarded when worn out.

Permanent Collection

The permanent collection consists of artifacts (objects, photographs, archives, and library) which directly relate to the purpose or mission of the museum. Artifacts accepted into the permanent collection are documented, preserved, and managed according to prescribed methods meeting current professional standards.
The permanent collection represents:

  • Artifacts made by a Maryland industry or prominent vendor for use in Maryland or elsewhere;
  • Artifacts representing a Maryland industry and/or vendor, such as the film, brewing, glass or steel industries; or vendors such as Goetze’s, Esskay, or Noxzema;
  • Industries that are indigenous and/or significant to Maryland, such as iron forges, quarries, the Port, maritime, or waterman industries (oysters, crabbing, etc.);
  • Anything pertaining to the Platt & Company Oyster Cannery and history of our building and property.

Research Center

Some gift offers are more suitable for the Research Center, which serves as a resource for students, scholars, businesses and others to study the region’s industrial history.

Teaching Collection

The teaching collection consists of artifacts that are duplicated in the permanent collection, are reproductions or props used in exhibits, do not directly relate to the purpose of the museum or are of lesser significance, but can still be valuable educational tools.

Condition

All donations to the museum must be clean and free of dirt, dust, grime, insects, cobwebs, etc. Offers received otherwise might be declined. Our rule of thumb is, if your artifacts are not in a condition that you would display them in your living room, then they are not in a condition we can display or store in the museum! The museum does not retain conservation staff to address artifacts in need of cleaning or conservation.  

Appraisal

Appraisal of your donation can happen at any time prior to, during, or after the donation process. The Museum cannot provide monetary valuations to donors, but we are happy to work with the appraiser of your choice.

What we can & can’t accept

The BMI is pleased to consider any offered artifact that falls within our collecting criteria; however, our storage space is limited and there are legal and ethical considerations associated with each donation. In general, we collect artifacts that relate to, or are descriptive of, the industrial history of the region.

Please contact us for more details, but here are a few important points:

  • Artifact donations must be made by the artifact’s legal owner.
  • We do not collect industries not represented in Maryland.
  • Historical artifacts with documented histories, including who used it, where and when it was used, are preferred. The more information you have about your artifact, the better we can tell a story about it!
  • It is preferred that artifacts be whole (no missing parts), in their original condition, in working condition if possible, with manuals or other documentation, clean, and in generally stable condition at the time of donation. Exceptions can sometimes be made for an artifact not meeting these conditions, as long as prior notice is given to the staff.  Please consult with us before undertaking a major cleaning project.

Find information about the donation process here.

Thank you for your interest in the Baltimore Museum of Industry. As extensive as our collections are, they were built primarily through donations such as yours. We greatly appreciate your contribution to the history and understanding of our region.

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