We accept donations of artifacts, photographs, and archival materials.
The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum (FLAM), thank you for your interest in donating your artifacts! The FLAM mission is to collect, preserve, and exhibit objects of interest to the history of the United States Marine Corps Aviation.
To accomplish this goal, the FLAM acquires a wide variety of artifacts and historical materials for use in exhibits, as reference materials, and to assist in conducting original research on Marine Corps Aviation history.
The FLAM follows the ethical guidelines for acquiring artifacts established by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM). It reviews every donation offer to determine whether it meets FLAM collection needs and falls within the Museum’s mission.
What does the FLAM collect?
The FLAM collects artifacts selectively and responsibly by following its collections rationale, which details the kinds of items that can be collected and those that cannot. Everyday items of interest to the FLAM include well-documented uniform items, issued field gear and equipment, aircraft memorabilia, original artwork, and Marine family items. The FLAM broadly collects items associated with the Marine Corps from 1775 to the current day, items related to foes that the Marine Corps has faced in the air on the battlefield, and items associated with allies and partners with whom the Marines have proudly fought side-by-side. Please see the FLAM’s regularly updated Donation Wish List for specific items that the FLAM is currently seeking to add to the collection.
What does the FLAM not collect?
With some exceptions – the FLAM does not collect artifacts associated with other U.S. military service branches or foreign militaries that the Marine Corps has not directly opposed or supported. Although crucial to its mission, the FLAM does not retain archival materials. Original documents such as photographs, personal papers, correspondence, official records, log books, etc., are collected and preserved by the Archives Branch, Marine Corps History Division, located at Marine Corps Base Quantico. While the FLAM does not directly collect or care for archival materials, the Museum works closely with donors to see that offered archival materials are transferred to the Archives Branch for review. FLAM curators may even request archive materials from donors to better document offered collections, which are eventually transferred to the Archives Branch. To donate archival materials directly to the Marine Corps History Division, Archives Branch, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I contact the Museum to donate?
If you have artifacts that you would like to donate to the Museum, please fill out a Donation Information Form and email it to: email@example.com Please include a list of the items you are offering (photographs of the items are also very helpful) along with as much detailed information as you have about the items and/or the Marine that used them.
Can’t I just mail or drop off a donation to the Museum?
No, the FLAM does not accept unsolicited donations. Due to the volume of donation offers the FLAM receives each year, the Museum cannot accept unsolicited material dropped off at the Museum or unsolicited material sent through the mail. Donations can only be dropped off at the Museum or curatorial offices after written confirmation with a curator or the Registrar.
How are donation offers reviewed, and who decides?
With the mission to collect, interpret, and present nearly 250 years of Marine Corps history, the FLAM has neither the storage capability nor the staff resources to accept all items offered for donation. The Museum’s curators closely follow the FLAM Collections Rationale and are very focused on collecting artifacts to fill existing gaps in the Museum’s collection.
Why is the museum so selective in what it accepts?
The FLAM receives donation offers and forwards those to the appropriate curator(s) for initial review and consideration based on the submitted Donation Information Form, photographs of the offered items, etc. Often, the curators will contact the donor(s) to get additional information about the offered items and/or request that the offered items be sent to the FLAM for assessment. The Registrar will contact the donor and provide shipping instructions and a Temporary Custody Receipt for items submitted for assessment by a curator. Based on the research and review of the existing collection, the curator may propose the offered item(s) for accession into the permanent collection to the FLAM Collections Committee. This committee consists of the Director, Registrar, and curators. Accepted donations are retained for possible museum exhibits, loaned to certified museums, organizations, or USMC activities, or preserved in secure collections storage for future research and study. If during the donation process, it is determined that offered items do not meet the criteria for acceptance into the FLAM’s collection, the items may be declined and either returned to the donor or disposed of by the Museum, with the written permission of the donor. The FLAM will not forward offered materials to other organizations.
What happens after I donate something to the FLAM?
Once a donation is recommended by the FLAM’s Collections Committee and approved by the Director, the Registrar will notify the donor and provide a Deed of Gift for the donor to sign and return. The Deed of Gift transfers legal ownership of the donated materials to the USMC. Once the FLAM receives the signed Deed of Gift, the Collection Manager begins the accessioning process, in which the item(s) are cataloged into the collection and professionally preserved.
Does the Museum accept long-term loans?
It is against FLAM policy to accept long-term loans of historic property. Such loans impose a significant administrative burden on the Museum and other responsibilities and are contrary to professional museum best practices. The FLAM will accept short-term loans only for the purpose of exhibition for a specific and limited period. Items offered to the Museum are accepted only as unconditional donated gifts to the USMC without restrictions, free and clear of all encumbrances.
Will the items that I donate be exhibited?
While the Museum cannot guarantee that any item will be placed on exhibit, when accepting a donated item, the FLAM commits to the donor to preserve and care for the item as a valued part of the FLAM collection. As is typical for museums of the FLAM’s size, less than 10% of the collection is on exhibit at any one time. When not exhibited, artifacts remain in secure storage and may be used for research, future exhibit needs, and as a historical study for future generations.
Can the Museum do an appraisal of my donation?
The FLAM cannot provide appraisals. One of the organizations below may be able to assist with finding an appraiser: American Society of Appraisers International Society of Appraisers Appraisers Association of America