Maritime Administration Artifact Loan Program

As part of its mission to promote the U.S. merchant marine, the Maritime Administration (MARAD) has authority to loan artifacts to qualified organizations for the purpose of education and public display.

MARAD loans artifacts to “qualified organizations” such as non-profit groups, memorial/museum ships and public bodies. In order to qualify organizations must:

  • Be registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, or;
  • Be part of a state or local government, and;
  • Be open to the public, or have the ability to display artifacts in a publicly-accessible area, and;
  • Include an educational mission.

While not a requirement, MARAD strongly prefers to loan artifacts to organizations with a collections management plan and a museum professional on staff. However, we understand that some organizations will not meet this standard. In these situations, MARAD will work with organizations that plan to publicly display and interpret MARAD property on a case-by case basis.

Aneroid barometer, a Maritime Administration heritage asset

Loans are for three years with an option to renew at the end of the original term. Loaned items must be on public display and maintained in good condition. Items must not be cleaned, conserved, or repaired without both the services of a professional conservator and prior permission from MARAD. They may not be transferred, loaned, or sold to any other organization.

All MARAD property on exhibit shall include information that identifies MARAD as the owner of the objects.

As part of the loan renewal process, organizations must provide a condition report one month prior to the conclusion of the loan period. In addition to a detailed narrative that covers the artifact’s condition, the report will also include a digital photograph of the artifact. Reports must be submitted via email to:

Organizations may either arrange to collect artifacts in person or have them shipped. Shipping costs are the responsibility of the borrower, including all costs associated with returning the property to MARAD upon loan termination. If the loaned property is not collected in person, it must be insured by the borrowing organization prior to shipment. The borrower is responsible for determining the insurance value of the artifact and acquiring insurance to cover any damage or loss.

Organizations interested in borrowing artifacts should e-mail the following documents to the MARAD History Program:

  • Proof of IRS 501(c) 3 non-profit status, or;
  • Documentation that identifies you as belonging to a state, or local government, and;
  • A description of your organization, including its goals and educational mission, and;
  • A formal loan request, to include:
    • the type of artifacts you would like to display, and;
    • an exhibit plan, which should include a description of the planned display, interpretation, and security arrangements, and;
    • a discussion of the public accessibility of the planned display, including hours and days of operation

For more information, please contact the Maritime Administration History Program at or (202) 366-1976.