Collections Donation FAQ

Arab American National Museum

How can I donate objects to the Museum?

The Arab American National Museum (AANM) collects, documents, and preserves objects that help illustrate the Arab American experience. Our permanent collection includes: art, artifacts, documents, personal papers, and photographs that were created by, owned, primarily used by, or that illustrate the Arab American experience. Almost all of the objects in the permanent collection have entered or will enter the collection through the generosity of individuals and communities, making the collection truly reflective of the diverse lives and histories of Arab Americans.

If your donation illustrates or interprets the Arab American experience, please complete the Collections Donation Information Form. This form provides information about the artifact(s) that will enable us to determine its suitability for inclusion in the Museum’s permanent collection. It is important for you to be as detailed as possible. Please include a photograph of the artifact – if possible, taken alongside a ruler. All of this information is important and will help us to make an informed decision.

Please mail the completed form to:
Collections Offer
c/o Elyssa Bisoski
Arab American National Museum
13624 Michigan Avenue
Dearborn, MI 48126

All offers must be made in writing by completing the Collections Donation Information Form. We are very sorry that we cannot consider a donation without a completed form.

What happens after I submit the Collection Donor Information Form?

After we receive your form and photograph(s), we will review the artifact(s) and assess the suitability to the Museum’s mission. We will also consider our ability to properly care for it as well as our ability to make it accessible to the public. A staff member may contact you for more information, but in most cases we will make our decision based on the information you have provided on the Collection Donation Information Form.

A Collections Committee, made up of AANM staff, scholars, and community leaders, meets quarterly to review proposed donations. We will contact you within one hundred-twenty (120) days of receipt to let you know the outcome of our review. This length of time is necessary in order to conduct any additional research and consult with our colleagues both on staff and in the field.

What happens after the Collections Committee makes a decision?

If we accept your artifact donation offer, we will send you a Deed of Gift and/or Photo Release Form with your acceptance letter. We will then work with you to arrange the transfer of the object to the Museum. An acceptance of a donation does not mean the artifact will be immediately put on display. When an artifact becomes part of the museum’s permanent collection, strict guidelines are in place to preserve and care for the object, which may include conservation treatment. An artifact may be accepted if it compliments a future exhibit or display, or if it would be useful to scholarly or public research.

If we are unable to accept your offer, we will contact you regarding the outcome as well as keep a record of the donation proposal. We sincerely encourage you to think of us again for future donations.

What is a Deed of Gift?

A Deed of Gift is a legal document that transfers permanent ownership to the Arab American National Museum. It is considered irrevocable. Before offering an item, please be certain that all interested parties understand the implications of signing a Deed of Gift. Family members should be in agreement about the decision to make an offer and who has the legal authority to sign the Deed.

Can you give me a monetary appraisal of my item?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) classifies museum and libraries as interested parties and so, by policy, the AANM cannot provide monetary appraisals. To find a licensed appraiser in your area, you can request a referral from the following organizations: the American Society of Appraisers (; the International Society of Appraisers (; or the Appraisers Association of America (


If you have any further questions about this process, please contact the Curator of collections, Elyssa Bisoski, at 313.624.0229 or via email at We will make every effort to return your call as quickly as possible. We appreciate your patience and understanding.


Thank you for your interest in supporting the Arab American National Museum in documenting the diverse experiences of the Arab American community.

13624 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn, MI 48126 - Phone (313) 582-AANM (2266) A Project of ACCESS