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First World War Centenary

August 2014 marked the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War — a pivotal event in our history. The Dominions of Canada and Newfoundland sacrificed and contributed to the war effort in ways too often forgotten. Through their actions, a generation of Canadians established our nation as an independent force on the international scene.

Support the First World War Centenary

Support the Museum

Your support for the work of the Canadian War Museum will ensure that the story of our military past is preserved and shared, now and for generations to come.

The Canadian War Museum is Canada’s national museum of military history and is tasked with a single overriding objective: to help all Canadians understand our country’s military history in its personal, national and international dimensions.

With your support, the Museum can set new standards of excellence for how we preserve and share the stories and memories of our military history through exhibitions, collections, research, education and outreach.

Areas in Need of Support

These areas of Museum activity are in need of your support:

  • First World War Centenary
  • Education and Outreach
  • Collections (Acquisition and Restoration)
  • Research
  • Exhibitions

Donating Material to the Canadian War Museum

The Canadian War Museum accepts select offers of donation for its National Collection. The National Collection is an assembly of military artifacts, archival and photographic material, and works of art that represents the Canadian military experience and promotes public understanding of Canada’s military history in its personal, national and international dimensions. Donated artifacts are recorded and cared for to the highest standards.

The Canadian War Museum also collects published works (books, magazines, technical manuals etc.) that support the research of Canada’s military history.

To offer military artifacts, archival and photographic material, works of art and / or published works, please fill in the Offer of Donation Form (see below). Include a complete list of all the items you wish to donate.

Before filling in the form, please take a look at this checklist and provide us with as much of the following information as possible:

  • Do you know who made it (artist or manufacturer)?
  • Do you know the history of the items?
  • Do you know the military service information of the original owner?
  • Are there any personal stories associated with it?
  • Where did you get it from?
  • Can you confirm you or the legal owner would be happy to transfer ownership of the item permanently to Canadian War Museum?
  • Can you provide a digital image of it, including close up shots of any identifying marks?
  • Can you describe its physical condition, including whether it is in good/fair/poor condition?

The Canadian War Museum receives many offers of material and we do consider every one. It may take us some time to respond to you.

  • Unfortunately, we are not able to accept everything we are offered. All offers are considered by Collections staff. If we are unable to accept your offer, we will recommend other institutions that may have an interest in the material you are offering.

Decisions to collect items are based on:

  • The collections criteria and mandate.
  • Whether or not we already have sufficient representation of a certain type of artifact and if the artifact fills a gap in our collection.
  • Space and resource allocation and availability.
  • Whether the current ownership is unknown or might be disputed.
  • Please note: The Canadian War Museum accepts all medals awarded to Canadian Service Persons who represented Canada in times of conflict as long as current ownership is not disputed.

Please use our Offer of Donation Form to tell us about the material you would like to offer Canadian War Museum.

Offer of Donation Form (doc)

Please do not send your items to the Museum until requested by the Museum to do so.

For offers including items to the National Collection (military artifacts, archival and photographic material, and works of art), please return the Offer of Donation Form and images to:
acquisitions@warmuseum.ca

or by mail to
Drew Oliver
Canadian War Museum
1 Vimy Place
Ottawa, ON K1A 0M8

For offers of published works only (books, magazines, technical manuals etc.), please return the Offer of Donation Form and images to:
vimy.biblio@warmuseum.ca

or by mail to
Canadian War Museum Library
Canadian War Museum
1 Vimy Place
Ottawa, ON K1A 0M8

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will my object be displayed?
    Acquisition does not guarantee public exhibition and the Canadian War Museum does not accept donations offered with this criteria attached. Only a small percentage of the Museum’s collection is on display. The remainder of the collection is held in storage and is accessible for research purposes.
  • If my object is not on display, what happens to it?
    Artifacts that are not on display are held in storage. The collections are available to researchers for consultation on-site, or for loan to other qualifying museums. With some advance notice, arrangements can be made for donors to come in and see the items they donated.
  • Can I get a tax receipt for my donation?
    The Canadian War Museum will issue a tax receipt for any total value over $100.00. A tax receipt may take several months to be issued.
  • I have something I’d like to donate. Can I drop it off at the Museum?
    No. Please do not bring objects to the Museum until they have been accepted through our donation process. We are very interested to hear more about your objects but unfortunately, for reasons of security and public accountability, Security Officers, Gallery Assistants, Hosts and Library staff are not allowed to accept objects offered as potential gifts “over the counter”.
  • How long will it take to process my offer of donation?
    Due to the high volume of offers the process can take several months after we receive the Offer of Donation form. All offers are reviewed by Collections staff and must go through a number of stages before the process is complete.
  • What can I do if the Canadian War Museum is not able to accept my offer?
    If The Canadian War Museum is not able to accept your offer, we will recommend other institutions that may have an interest in the material you wish to donate.
  • What if I change my mind once my donation has been accepted?
    Once ownership has been signed over, the objects are the property of the Crown and cannot be returned. If you have concerns, please discuss them with us prior to signing over ownership.

If you have any additional questions, please email us (acquisitions@warmuseum.ca).

To send us an email or see other ways to contact us:

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