The Registrar’s Office of the Penn Museum, established in 1929, is the hub for implementing collections policies and procedures through coordinating Museum-wide collections activities and services. Such activities and services include the coordination of object acquisitions & deaccessions, coordination of object loans (incoming and outgoing), maintenance of object records, coordination with Exhibitions and the Curatorial Sections for objects going on display, oversight of the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, liaising with the Office of Risk Management on insurance matters, and other collections-related services for staff and the general public.
The mission of the Penn Museum is to transform understanding of the human experience, supported by the four pillars of its mandate: teaching, research, collections stewardship, and public engagement. Guided by this mission, the Penn Museum stewards one of the largest and oldest university museum collections of cultural material in the United States. While the majority of the Museum’s collections came from excavations or were acquired during anthropological fieldwork during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Museum continues to accept select donations from institutions and individuals, and occasional purchases.
The Penn Museum accepts select donations of documented ethnographic and archaeological materials that are free of major conservation concerns for the express purpose of supporting the Museum’s mission. Objects of antiquity will be considered only if the donor can provide evidence documenting their legal excavation and/or exportation in accordance with the Museum’s 1970 Pennsylvania Declaration and the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. Additionally, the Museum adheres to pertinent U.S. laws and international treaties regarding cultural property.
Object donors will generally be invited to make an additional cash gift to the Museum's Collections Stewardship Endowment Fund. Acceptance of this invitation is not in any way a requirement of acceptance of the object(s) offered, but rather an appeal to the donor's shared appreciation of the importance of artifact preservation and stewardship, and the real ongoing costs associated with this mission.
If you would like to donate objects to the Penn Museum, please email images of the objects and accompanying collecting history information & documentation to