Donating items to the Australian War Memorial
The Australian War Memorial collects items relating to the Australian experience of war. Donated items are cared for to the highest standards, and as a result we are selective about what we collect.
Please use our online form to tell us about your offer. Read our donation checklist below to make sure you can provide the necessary information. Please do not post items to the Memorial without contacting us first, as we cannot accept responsibility for this material.
- Can you describe the item?
- Do you know who it relates to?
- Are there any stories related to it? Why do you think the Memorial is the most appropriate place for your item?
- Where did you get it?
- Can you confirm you are the legal owner*, and would be happy to transfer permanent legal ownership over to the Australian War Memorial?
- If you have multiple items, can you describe the number or volume of the material?
- Can you provide a digital image of it?
*Legal owner means having ownership of the physical item. Copyright is a separate issue addressed here.
Things to consider before making an offer to us
- Unfortunately we are unable to accept everything that is offered to us. We have particular collecting priorities, and some areas of our collection are already well developed. If we already hold good examples of an object we are unlikely to accept more.
- We cannot accept material where current ownership is unknown or might be disputed.
- We strongly recommend you talk to with your family before you offer material to the Memorial. Their wishes may need to be considered before you proceed.
- A donation is finalised by the donor signing a Transfer of Ownership Agreement. This is a legal document that transfers ownership of the item to the Memorial. Once a donation is finalised, it cannot be returned.
What do we collect?
Current collection priorities
We seek to collect original items that relate to Australia’s involvement in and experience of war from the nineteenth century to the present day. We have strong interest in all items that have stories associated with them or are closely linked to people or events including equipment, objects, works of art, photographs, letters, diaries and souvenirs.
Collection areas we want to develop
- Representation of women who have served in conflicts, including Peacekeeping exercises from Vietnam to the present day.
- Australian involvement and experience of the Korean War and Gulf Wars.
- Personal letters, diaries, audiovisual records and mementoes relating to modern conflicts.
- Material relating to Indigenous military service and experience of conflict.
- Oral history interviews with current and recent serving veterans.
What we do not collect
- Photocopies or digital copies of original material, unless the original is no longer in existence
- Newspaper clippings
- Secondary source research material
- Reproductions of artworks
- Books, photographs, documents or other material published by the Memorial
- Copies of items already in the Memorial collection
- Copies of material in other public institutions, including service records
- Commercially released audio visual material
- Material that cannot be connected to Australian experience.
- Medal ribbon bars
- Miniature medals
- Medal cases and cardboard boxes
- Laminated material
- Family histories without substantial military content
- Discharge certificates, pay books, demobilisation books, attestation papers or commissioning certificates if offered in isolation without other associated items.