Donate an Artifact

Contribute a piece of American law enforcement history

Eliot Ness's badge. Al Capone's mug shot. Grandpa's old billy-club. You may be in possession of an authentic and important piece of law enforcement history. Help to build the National Law Enforcement Museum's collection by donating your historical and contemporary law enforcement items.

The Museum is making a global appeal for objects, documents and memorabilia that help tell the story of American law enforcement, from the 17th century to today. By donating your artifact you will enable the general public — now and for generations to come — to have a greater understanding of the law enforcement profession and the critical role it plays in American society.

View Collection Highlights.

Suggested Items

The Museum is interested in artifacts, such as those suggested below, to add to our collection:

  • Uniforms, gear, equipment, communications tools, badges, vehicles and weapons, particularly items associated with pivotal events or that have historical value — the first modern police cap, an early woman's uniform, etc.

  • Evidence from significant 19th and 20th century crimes, such as items belonging to notorious criminals — Bonnie and Clyde, Al Capone, Ted Bundy and others.

  • Unique evidence that utilizes forensic methodology used for the first time or in significant cases — fingerprints, tread analysis, hair samples, type comparisons, etc.

  • Items that illustrate law enforcement in pop culture, both contemporary and historical — movie posters, comic books, pulp fiction, action figures, pins, buttons, general memorabilia, etc.

  • Academy training manuals, textbooks, videos and equipment that represent the breadth of instruction law enforcement officers receive

  • Objects or documents that once belonged to notable law enforcement officers — Wyatt Earp, Teddy Roosevelt, Eliot Ness and others

  • Objects, documents and images that reflect the experiences of contemporary law enforcement officers

  • Law enforcement gazettes, newspapers, broadsides, unpublished memoirs and photographs

Click here to download the Museum's Artifact Wish List.

Artifacts accessioned into the Museum's collection will be thoroughly researched and receive the highest standards of care. All items accepted into the Museum's collection will be acknowledged and will be tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law.

How to Offer Artifacts to the Museum

To offer your artifact to the National Law Enforcement Museum, please contact Museum Programs staff at 202-737-3400 or e-mail You may also download and complete the forms below and fax them to 202-737-7740.

Please do not ship anything to the Museum before you have talked with our Museum Programs staff. We will want to first discuss your potential donation.

Developing the Museum's exhibitions is a lengthy process and a final decision as to whether your item is accepted may take several months. However, we appreciate your patience and understanding and will certainly remain in touch with you during this time to keep you updated and to gather any additional information needed.

Potential Artifact Donation Form:

Potential Artifact Loan Form:

We thank you in advance for your interest and generosity and look forward to working with you.