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Maritime Administration Artifact Transfer and Donation Program

It is the Maritime Administration’s (MARAD’s) preference to retain and preserve its heritage assets, however; there are instances in which certain material is considered excess. In those instances, MARAD will make those items available for transfer or donation to qualified organizations.

The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 1996 authorizes the transfer of property removed from obsolete National Defense Reserve Fleet vessels to “qualified United States memorial ships.” Artifacts will generally be transferred only to those memorial ships that have a detailed exhibit plan and employ trained museum professionals.

Transferred artifacts become the property of the receiving memorial ship; however, some use restrictions apply. Transferred items may not be sold, loaned, or transferred to any other organization or individual, even if the proceeds from such a sale would benefit the memorial ship. Additionally, transferred artifacts must be used on the memorial ship itself; they may not be exhibited in any shore-based museum or visitor center. Unused artifacts must be returned to MARAD, with the receiving memorial ship bearing all freight costs.

MARAD also has the authority, under 40 USC § 527, to donate surplus property to a public body if it has no commercial value or if the cost of continued care and handling exceeds the estimated proceeds from sale. MARAD will generally favor donations to museums and other educational institutions over other public bodies. Artifacts will generally be donated only to those public bodies that have a detailed exhibit plan and employ trained museum professionals.

If your organization is interested in entering into a loan agreement with MARAD, please contact MARAD History Program at:

Last updated: Monday, October 29, 2018