What kind of items does the Museum collect?
The Museum selectively collects objects that supports our mission as the regimental museum to U.S. Army Civil Affairs, Psychological Operations and Special Forces. Items such as uniforms, equipment, weapons, and accoutrements are used by the Museum to create, sustain, and continually enhance exhibits, provide educational tools for soldier training and to ensure a complete record for a study collection. While the Museum cannot guarantee that any item(s) will be placed on exhibit, donated items will be preserved and cared for in perpetuity by the Army.
Additionally, though crucial to our mission, the Museum does not retain archival materials unless they are integral to the piece (e.g., instruction manuals, support documentation, etc.) or can supplement our research library. Donations of archival collections can be coordinated either through the Museum or directly with the USASOC History Office.
How do I donate?
If you have objects to donate, email the Curator at Carrie.Cutchens@socom.mil. Please include a list of the items with photographs (cell phone photos are acceptable) with as much detailed information you have on the items or the person who used them. This can include written narratives but also any other documentation which supports or is applicable to the donation. All this information, including photographs, is required when we submit your donation for review by the Collection Committee.
Please DO NOT drop off or mail your items to the Museum without prior acknowledgment and approval. The Museum, which is part of the U.S. Army Museum Enterprise, cannot legally or physically accept these items until they have been approved to be added to the collection.
Who reviews donation offers?
The Museum staff internally reviews all potential donations. Items must meet several criteria:
If accepted by the JFK Special Warfare Museum, then items will be presented to the U.S. Army Center of Military History Collection Committee for review. A Museum staff member will contact you directly once a decision has been made.
Why is the Museum so selective in what it accepts?
While we wish we could accept all offers, the Museum has finite space and limited staff resources. When donations are accepted, we are agreeing to maintaining it to the best of our ability for perpetuity.
While every Soldier has a story, there have been several hundred thousand soldiers in the U.S. Army. Although the number of SOF personnel is exponentially smaller, a lot of equipment and uniforms are common to all. So, it is imperative that we are discerning about what is offered. We appreciate, beyond words, what sacrifices you, your loved ones or friends have sacrificed for our country. Our refusal of your donation does not subtract from that respect.
Can the Museum do an appraisal of my donation?
No, the Museum, either as a whole or by a staff person, is prohibited from providing appraisals. A fair market value is required if donating a collection. A fair market value (FMV), in its simplest sense, is the price that an asset would sell for on the open market when certain conditions are met. For example: You might find three different valuations of a similar item on the web. From that you can establish an average value. Depending on the item’s provenance, condition, completeness and age, your determination may go up or down from this average.
There are three methods to procure such valuation:
1. Professional appraisers perform this service for a fee. You may contact the organizations below to find an appraiser in your local area.
This does not imply U.S. Army endorsement of these organizations.
2. Search for militaria on the web, on-line and in-person auctions, and dealers.
3. Contact a militaria collector or dealer and reach a valuation.
I do not want to donate the object(s). Can I loan them to the Museum?
The U.S. Army does not accept loans of artifacts or collections. Any exceptions to policy must be approved by the Secretary of the Army.
If the Museum does not exhibit the donation, do you return it to the donor if I want it back?
No. When a donation is made and approved, the object becomes a permanent part of the U.S. Army historical collection. The Museum cannot guarantee items will be on permanent exhibit. For preservation purposes objects are often rotated on and off exhibit. Some donations are accepted to be used for student training and may never be put on display.
I belong to a VFW/American Legion/other fraternal order and want to get a piece of equipment or armament for the front of our building?
Any requests for militaria for display by a fraternal organization must submit their request to Tank Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM). Please visit the Army Donations Program website for more information.