How to donate historical items

Find out what objects and records our museum and archives collect, how we decide what to collect and read our collections development policy.

Metal army truck with red cross flag

Our museum and archives are the national repository for records and objects relating to the history of the British Red Cross. They exist to collect, preserve and make accessible the organisation's history.

What we collect

We collect material relating to the British Red Cross from our formation in 1870 to the present day.

The objects and records we collect reflect our humanitarian work in the United Kingdom and overseas.

The museum collection contains objects within the following areas:

  • uniforms
  • medals and badges
  • first aid and nursing equipment
  • fundraising and publicity material
  • items connected with those who received aid or help from the British Red Cross, such as prisoners of war
  • items connected with the provision of international aid to the survivors of war and natural disasters

We also collect records documenting the development of the British Red Cross as an organisation. Our archive collection contains material from our headquarters and from offices across the country.

These records include:

  • official records, including minute books and annual reports
  • records of our activity and service delivery, including publications and project files
  • audio-visual material, including film, photographs and audio records about our work, and our staff and volunteers

Our collection also includes records from organisations with which we have significant connections, such as the joint work undertaken with the Order of St John.

We also accept some records from people who have volunteered with the British Red Cross or received assistance from us.

How we decide what to collect

We welcome offers of donations from the public. We're always seeking to add new material that increases our knowledge of the history of the British Red Cross.

However, we are not able to accept all the material offered to us. We have a collections development policy to help us decide what material we should and should not take into our collections.

We carry out an appraisal of all donations before they are accepted. This takes into account whether the material being offered for donation:

  • has a strong connection to the history and work of the British Red Cross
  • is in good physical condition
  • duplicates material already held in our collections

This appraisal process is carried out to ensure that we have the resources to care for items in our collections to the highest possible standards.

If you would like more information on how to donate a historical item, please email or call 0207 877 7058.