Collection Policy | Use the Collection

Our Policy

View our official Collections Management Policy.

A few things to keep in mind when considering a donation to the Museum:

  • Donations to the National Law Enforcement Museum are tax deductible. You may have to consult a tax specialist to determine eligibility. It will likely require an appraisal.
  • We don’t perform appraisals. While all donations to the National Law Enforcement Museum are tax deductable, it is your responsibility to get them appraised by an outside source for that purpose.
  • If you don’t want something because it is smelly, damp, or has something growing on it, then we probably don’t want it either. While certain levels of wear and tear are to be expected, especially with really old objects, anything that contains active mold or corrosion can be a danger to other objects in the collection. In this situation, the potential risk to the rest of the collection and potential cost to stabilize the object usually aren’t worth gaining one object.
  • Not all donated objects will go on exhibit. In fact, only a small percentage of most museums’ collections are on exhibit at any given time. This is due to limited exhibit space and because long-term display can have negative effects on artifact preservation. Objects not on exhibit are kept in a secure, climate-controlled facility, so they will be available well into the future.
  • All Items are accessible to the public. If you would like to use the collection for research, you can make an appointment with the Museum Registrar who will evaluate your request and make arrangements for access to collection items.
  • We do not accept long-term loans except for in very unique circumstances. The National Law Enforcement Museum only accepts loans for specific exhibit purposes.

Due to limited storage capabilities and resources, the National Law Enforcement Museum is currently unable to accept the following types of donations to the collection:

  • Car doors
  • Patches
  • Duplicates of things already in the collection (Please ask before discarding your items!)
  • Original works of art created to commemorate a law enforcement officer’s death, with the exception of certain items left at the Memorial during National Police Week

Use the Collection


If interested in using the National Law Enforcement Museum’s collection for research, you may contact the Registrar at or by phone at 301-420-8394 to schedule an appointment.


If you would like to use any materials from the National Law Enforcement Museum’s collection in a publication, please fill out and return the Permission to Publish Form.