Artifact Donations

Thank you for your interest in the NMD and for considering the museum as a repository for your possessions.

The mission of the Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry is inspiring the future of oral health through celebrating the heritage of the dental profession. To help achieve this mission, the NMD collects, researches, preserves, exhibits, and interprets artifacts in accordance with our collections policy.

Artifacts may be accepted for the Permanent Collection or Teaching Collection. The permanent collection is controlled by museum staff and requires special considerations and permissions for use and access. This helps ensure your gift will be preserved as long as possible. The teaching collection is actively used for hands-on programming or demonstrations and would be discarded when worn out.

Permanent Collection

The permanent collection consists of objects, multimedia (photographs, digital items, and audiovisual material), archival items, and library items, which directly relate to the mission, priorities, and core values of the museum. Items accepted into the permanent collections are documented, preserved, and managed according to prescribed methods meeting current professional standards. The permanent collection represents:

  • Items invented, crafted, or utilized by a dental professional;
  • Items representing a dental/oral health organization, association, society, educational institution, practice(s), or vendor, such as marketing items, journals, meeting notes, or business records, programming materials;
  • Works of art or literature heavily focused on one or more of the following subjects: dental professionals, oral health, personal oral health products, teeth, smiles;
  • Personal items of dental professionals deemed historically significant to understanding their story within the profession, such as journals, awards, articles, photographs, recordings, etc.

Teaching Collection

The teaching collection consists of items that are duplicated in the permanent collection, are reproductions or props used in exhibits, do not directly relate to the purpose of the museum, or are of lesser significance, but can still be valuable educational tools.

    Submit your donation request!

    Thank you for your interest in the Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry. We would not have the leading repository for dental history related objects in the world without donations such as yours. We greatly appreciate your contribution to the history, understanding, and impact of the dental profession.

    What we can & can’t accept

    The NMD is happy to consider any offered donation that falls within our collecting criteria; however, our storage space is limited and there are legal and ethical considerations associated with each donation. In general, we collect items that relate to the dental profession, oral health, and the craniofacial complex of humans and animals.

    Please contact us for more details, but here are a few important guidelines:

    • Donations must be made by the item(s)’s legal owner.
    • Historical items with documented histories, including who made it, who used it, and where and when it was used are preferred. The more information you have about your donation, the better we can share its story!
    • Donations with no missing parts, in their original condition, in working condition if possible, with manuals or other documentation, clean, and in generally stable condition at the time of donation are preferred. Exceptions can sometimes be made for an artifact not meeting these conditions, please email as soon as possible before donating.


    All donations to the museum must be clean and free of dirt, dust, grime, insects, cobwebs, etc. Offers received otherwise might be declined. If your donation is not in a condition that you would display in your home or office, then they are typically not in a condition that we can display or store in the museum. The museum does not retain conservation staff to address items in need of cleaning or conservation. If you believe your donation has significant historical value, but needs conserved, please email to discuss funding possibilities for restoring your donation.


      Appraisal of your donation can happen at any time prior to, during, or after the donation process. The museum cannot provide monetary valuations to donors, but we are happy to work with the appraiser of your choice.


        Tuesday - Friday: 10am to 4pm


        31 S. Greene St. Baltimore, MD 21201



        The Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry is an auxiliary enterprise of the University of Maryland, School of Dentistry at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

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