Donate to the National Maritime Collection

caption: A museum patron views an item they have donated in its safe storage environment.

Do you own a piece of our maritime heritage? It might be a photograph, a painting, a ship model... These and other items that relate to Australia's maritime heritage may be of interest to the museum. Under Australian tax legislation, gifts to the museum can be tax-deductible.

There are several ways of donating to the Australian National Maritime Museum.

1) Donate maritime heritage and cultural gifts to the National Maritime Collection

The Commonwealth Government's Cultural Gifts Program encourages gifts of significant cultural items to public art galleries, museums and libraries by offering donors a tax deduction for the market value of their gifts, under Subdivision 30-A of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997. The Department of Communications and the Arts administers the scheme with the advice of the Committee on Taxation Incentives for the Arts. Independent valuers examine donations to ensure they conform with the scheme's requirements.

2) Donate financial support, or support in kind, to conservation projects

The physical care of the National Maritime Collection is a vital part of the work of the museum. You can contribute financial support to this work at any time. For example, we couldn't display a unique 20-metre-long watercolour panorama of Sydney Harbour painted in 1907 (pictured above), until it had been cleaned, repaired and stabilised. This was achieved through the generosity of the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation, which became sole sponsor of the work.

Many businesses have helped in the preservation of the National Maritime Collection by providing a variety of goods and services free of charge, from marine coatings and adhesives and a wide variety of other materials to shipyard services and transport.

3) Donate financial support to the Australian National Maritime Foundation (ANMF)

The Australian National Maritime Foundation has these objectives:

  • create a capital fund, through gifts, bequests and fund-raising activities, for the purposes of:
    • acquiring major additional items or collections of items to develop the National Maritime Collection referred to in Section 9 of the Australian National Maritime Museum Act 1990;
    • conserving the National Maritime Collection;
    • other activities which enhance the National Maritime Collection;
  • receive gifts and bequests for specific activities relating to the National Maritime Collection and the museum;
  • support the National Maritime Collection and the museum generally.

Monies in the fund can only be spent to further the objectives of the foundation. Major expenditure decisions will be made by Foundation Directors in consultation with the chairman and director of the museum. Cash gifts to the museum are tax-deductible in terms of sub-paragraph 78(a)(xxvii) and paragraph 78(1)(aa) of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936.

Foundation directors

Chairman Bill Cutbush Company Director


  • Kay Cottee AO former Chairman Australian National Maritime Museum
  • Peter Dexter AM Company Director
  • Trevor Haworth AM Executive Chairman Captain Cook Cruises
  • Rob Mundle Author and journalist
  • Peter Sinclair AM CSC Chairman Australian National Maritime Museum
  • Mary-Louise Williams Director Australian National Maritime Museum

Secretary Russell Smylie Australian National Maritime Museum

Bequests to the Australian National Maritime Museum

You may like to support the National Maritime Collection through bequeathing a part or all of your estate, objects or collections which you presently enjoy. Or you may like to set up a special fund in your own name. Our staff will be happy to advise you.

 Making a donation

The Australian National Maritime Museum cannot accept objects left as donations at its Reception or Front of House.

The Australian National Maritime Museum holds a rich and diverse collection of material that represents Australian maritime heritage.  The museum began collecting in 1986 and already has over 150,000 objects.

The museum's Collection Development Policy guides each acquisition accepted by the museum. All donations will be assessed against the collecting focus areas outlined in this Policy.
Australian National Maritime Museum Collection Development Policy 2011 (PDF, 1.8mb) (DOC, 218kb)

Offers to the museum undergo a rigorous assessment and approval process prior to acquisition.  This process includes a condition check, research into the provenance and significance of the material, a check that the offer is not duplicating items already in the collection and assesses the offer's potential for research and display.

The Policy aims to ensure that the museum's collects the best examples of Australian maritime history for the benefit of the Australian public now and in the future.

Please note the museum reserves the right to decline offers of donation if they do not meet with this Policy, are in poor condition or lack adequate provenance.

Advice to potential donors

The museum advises that you discuss your plans with your family financial and legal advisors. Our staff will be happy to advise you and explain the procedures and benefits of donating to the National Maritime Collection. Please contact:

Dr. Nigel Erskine
Head of Research

Phone: +61 2 9298 3713

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