Museum Collection

Donate Items

Memories are precious. Share your family history!

Our tradition takes great care to instill in each generation the desire to treasure, to preserve, to learn, and to pass on our beautiful heritage. What within our homes is more meaningful to our families than the items that were so important to our parents and grandparents? These irreplaceable objects that were so much a part of their lives are most worthy of preservation.

The Iowa Jewish Historical Society (IJHS) preserves family and business memorabilia in archival storage for display in our museum and for research so that future generations will know about their roots in the Iowa Jewish community.

What to Donate

Our major areas of collecting include:

  • Communal Life: Papers, artifacts, images and religious items from synagogues, sisterhoods and men’s and young people’s clubs from across Iowa
  • Personal and Family Artifacts: Items that document the lives of Jewish Iowans including images, books, papers, clothing and personal effects
  • Business: Materials that document Iowa’s Jewish business owners, professional leaders and their businesses
  • The Holocaust: Stories, images and artifacts pertaining to Iowa’s Holocaust survivors, including their lives before, during and after the war

How to Donate to the Collection

The Iowa Jewish Historical Society collects items relevant to the history of Jews in Iowa in accordance with our collections policy. Most of IJHS collections have been donated to the museum by individuals and organizations. Our primary focus is objects, documents, and photographs that directly relate to Iowa’s Jewish history. Collections are used to support research, exhibitions, publications, and educational programs.

Once the IJHS accepts your donation into the collection, you will be asked to sign a Deed of Gift, which legally transfers ownership of the materials to the Museum. Once the Deed of Gift has been signed, accessioned collection materials cannot be returned to donors.

IJHS staff are not permitted to provide appraisals or estimated value for donations.

To get started with making a donation to the collection, please fill out the online item donation form.

Contact Us

If you have questions about donating objects, papers, or photographs to our collections, please contact our staff at or by calling 515-987-0899 ext. 216. Please do not drop items off at the museum or at the Federation Office without contacting staff.