IWM has been collecting for over 100 years and holds 33 million items in our collections.  We must carefully consider all new additions.

We are working to improve access to our existing collections for our audiences. We will only be accepting certain types of material until summer 2025.

What IWM is currently collecting

How IWM considers offers of donations to the collections

New objects accepted into IWM's care must significantly enhance our collections by providing insight into the human experience of war, and its impact on people’s lives.

IWM's Collections Development Policy outlines the type of material IWM accepts, and how we shape our collections.  Each collections department also has its own priorities for building its collections. 

Our collecting decisions are also influenced by

  • If an area of the collection is already well-developed 
  • Use of our space and resources
  • If current ownership is unknown or disputed.
  • The condition of the object
  • The presence of hazardous or licensed material (e.g. asbestos, radiation, explosives)


IWM currently collects

All objects accepted into IWM's collections are documented, preserved and cared for to the highest standards. 

We are currently only accepting material in the following areas. 

  • Books, Pamphlets and Journals

    Material of this kind includes:

    • Operational and unit histories
    • Biographies
    • Novels written during or at the time of wars and conflicts 
    • Regimental magazines
    • Service and trench newspapers

    We are accepting offers of this type about all conflicts since 1914.  

  • Printed leaflets and ephemera

    Material of this kind includes:

    • Propaganda leaflets
    • Knitting patterns
    • Recipes
    • Greetings cards
    • Song sheets
    • Theatre programmes
    • Political or campaign leaflets

    We are accepting offers of this type about all conflicts since 1914.  

  • Born-digital film, photography and sound recordings

    We are currently accepting offers of objects produced digitally: with a digital camera or digital sound recording device.

    • We are only accepting born digital film and photography which covers conflict or events after 1990.
    • We are accepting sound recordings about all conflicts since 1914 if they have been produced on a digital device,

We are unable to accept all other offers of material until summer 2025, while we prioritise documenting newly acquired objects, and improve access to our existing collections.

Offer an object to IWM

Public generosity has helped to grow IWM's collections since our foundation in 1917.

But, as we receive many offers of donations, we cannot individually reply to them all.

If you do not hear from us within a month of contact, please assume that your offer was rejected.

Offer an object
Please contact us about any material you would like to offer to IWM's collections.

Donations by post or in person

IWM does not accept offers of objects brought in, or sent to our branches.

If you bring an object to IWM you will be asked to take it home with you. It is your property and your responsibility.

If you post an object to IWM, it will be returned to you by post. We have a legal responsibility to return your property to you.

We will dispose of objects posted to us without a return address

Building our collections

Close up of Yamaha electric keyboard damaged by ISIS militants c.2014.
©IWM (EPH 11788)

Recently collected objects

Find out more about some of the objects IWM has recently added to its collections. 

The IWM Duxford Conservation Team removing wing bolts

Managing IWM's Collections

Find out how IWM safeguards its collections for future generations.

A person who works for IWM cleaning models of dazzle ships in 1926.
©IWM (Q 45234)

Collections online

Explore over 1 million items from IWM's collections that tell the story of war and conflict.