Donate an Item

Rivers of Steel’s Museum and Archives collection is always growing, thanks to the donations of individuals, businesses, cultural institutions, and corporations. These donations help us fulfill our mission to preserve, interpret, and promote the industrial and cultural heritage of southwestern Pennsylvania.

Collecting Scope

Accepted donations must relate to Rivers of Steel’s mission to preserve records and artifacts of industrial, social, and cultural significance to communities within our National Heritage Area (which includes Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Fayette, Greene, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties).

Examples of items in our collections include:

  • Photographs, films, video, and other multimedia
  • Clothing (Industrial and Cultural)
  • Tools and equipment
  • Personal items, such as union and identification badges or cards
  • Books and manuscripts
  • Brochures, pamphlets, magazines and other ephemera

For more specific examples, search our collection online.

How to Donate

If you have artifacts or documents that you are interested in donating, please contact:

Ron Baraff
Director of Historic Collections and Facilities
412.464.4020 ext. 221

Please provide as much information as possible about the item or items you are interested in donating. It is helpful to know the name, use, size, and history of potential donations.

Although we make a concerted effort to represent as many aspects of industry and culture as possible, we are unable to accept every offer due to limited time, space, and resources.


Is my donation tax-deductible?

Donations to Rivers of Steel are tax-deductible at their fair market value, which must be determined by the donor. You will receive a Deed of Gift as documentation of your donation.

Rivers of Steel in unable to place a monetary value on any historic artifacts. This must be done by a certified appraiser, who will charge a fee for their services. To find a licensed appraiser in your area, contact the American Society of Appraisers, the International Society of Appraisers, or the Appraisers Association of America.

Will the museum exhibit the items I donate?

We cannot guarantee that anything donated to the collection will be exhibited. Though we rotate our exhibits, only a small fraction of the collection is on view at any given time.

When they are not on exhibit, materials are safely stored to ensure their long-term preservation.

Objects from the collection are occasionally loaned to other institutions for temporary exhibitions, and most artifacts and documents in the collections are made available for research purposes.

If I donate artifacts or documents, will they be returned to me at my (or my family’s) request?

We cannot return donated materials. Once your donation has been accepted into the collection, you will be asked to sign a Deed of Gift, which legally transfers ownership of the materials to the museum.

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