Frequently Asked Questions

What Kind of Items Are Acceptable for Donation?

The Museum’s scope of collection focuses on the events and experiences associated with the Holocaust and the Nazi occupation of Europe- between the years 1933 to 1945.  In order to properly understand the associated events, pre-Holocaust and immediate post Holocaust time frames are also included in the scope of our collection.  In addition, we accept materials related to Holocaust war crimes trials; testimonies about the Holocaust and its aftermath; materials regarding restitution efforts; contemporary documentation concerning Holocaust deniers; and both Holocaust commemoration and memorialization. Those interested in donating post- Holocaust artwork will first need to submit a hardcopy portfolio describing both the artist and the art with photographic/slide representation.  All artwork portfolios are evaluated by the Museum’s Collections Committee for potential inclusion into the collection.

If you have artifacts, documents, or items, which you believe would make valuable additions to the collection, please inquire about donating them to The Museum by contacting the Collections Department at 847.967.4817 or

Unsolicited donations sent through the mail or without appointment in person cannot be accepted.

Will All Donated Items Be on Display?

We cannot guarantee that any item donated to the Museum’s collection will be on permanent exhibit. Artifacts are regularly rotated so that they can be preserved from the elements, which could otherwise cause damage and/or deterioration.  We also rotate artifacts to increase access to the many objects housed in the museum’s collection.

It is the Museum’s intention to utilize items in the collection to the fullest potential possible.  In some cases, artifacts may become part of an exhibit, a traveling exhibition, or occasionally even loaned to other institutions for exhibition. In certain instances, donated artifacts will not be displayed, but will be archived and preserved for study by scholars and researchers for years to come.  We maintain optimal conditions in our state-of-the-art galleries and storage facility to ensure the long-term preservation of all collection materials.

If I Donate Artifacts or Documents to The Museum, Will They Be Returned at My Request?

Once the Museum accepts your donation into the collection, you will be asked to sign a Deed of Gift document, which legally transfers ownership of the materials to the Museum. Once the Deed of Gift has been signed, accessioned collection materials cannot be returned to donors.

May I Take A Tax Deduction for My Donation?

The Museum is recognized as a qualified charitable organization, thus the fair market value of your donated materials is generally tax deductible. To take advantage of your deduction, you must file tax form 1040 and, depending on the value of your donation, tax form 8283.

To ensure that you receive the maximum tax benefit, it is recommended that you consult with your own accountant, attorney, and/or the Internal Revenue Service. You may also consult Internal Revenue Service Publication No. 526, Charitable Contributions, and Publication No. 561, Determining the Value of Donated Property.

Can The Illinois Holocaust Museum or Its Staff Appraise My Donation for Its Monetary Value?

No. We cannot provide appraisals of the monetary value of materials proposed for donation or for any other reason, because the Internal Revenue Service regards museums and libraries as interested parties. Monetary appraisals prepared for donors by such institutions are subject to question or disqualification.

However, professional appraisers do perform this service for a fee. To find a licensed appraiser in your area, contact the American Society of Appraisers, the International Society of Appraisers, or the Appraisers Association of America for a referral.

Will I Be Notified If My Donation Goes on Exhibit?

Yes. The Museum notifies all donors by U.S. mail in the event that their contribution to the collection is displayed.

For additional information please contact the collections department:

phone: 847-967-4817


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