Questions related to the NMAI object collections should be sent to NMAIcollections@si.edu. Questions related to the NMAI Archives should be sent to NMAIArchives@si.edu. A portion of the NMAI collections, including objects and historic photographs, is available for online searching on the NMAI Collections Search site.
Please note that the NMAI became part of the Smithsonian Institution in 1989. Native American collections associated with the Smithsonian before 1989 are likely at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). The extensive Native American collections of the NMNH are distinct from those of the NMAI—the two collections have not been merged. For information about the NMNH Native American collections, visit the NMNH Anthropology Department site.
The NMAI's Collections Search site provides information on a representative sample of the objects and historic photographs in the collections. Comprehensive collections reports may be requested by completing an Object Collections Report Request.
Identification and appraisal of objects
Smithsonian staff are prevented by policy from authenticating, placing a value on, or appraising objects. For informal object identifications, contact NMAIcollections@si.edu and provide as much information as possible about the object (where found, history, description, dimensions, images, etc.). DO NOT send or bring the item(s) to the NMAI unless specifically requested to do so.
For identification of archaeological objects from the U.S., the state archaeologist of the state where the object was found is likely able to provide the best information. Visit the National Association of State Archaeologists website for a list of state archaeologists.
Donating or selling objects to the museum
The NMAI accepts donations of items that enhance its permanent collections; not all objects offered for donation are accepted. The NMAI occasionally purchases items for its permanent collections; however, acquisition funds are limited, and most purchases are initiated by the NMAI to meet specific needs. To submit a donation or purchase offer to the NMAI, complete and submit this online form and attachments for consideration. Please DO NOT send or bring the item(s) to the NMAI unless specifically requested to do so..
Questions related to NMAI exhibitions or public programs should be sent to VisitNMAI@si.edu.
General inquiries about Native Americans
General questions should be sent to the NMAI’s Native Information Network (NIN@si.edu).