The Historian’s Office is committed to developing archival and artifact collections that pertain to the history of the United States Coast Guard. We maintain substantive archive files on:
Events of National Significance (the Coast Guard's role in such events as the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S., Formation of the Department of Homeland Security, and Hurricanes Katrina/Rita, etc.).
Maritime Disasters (especially marine casualties that were investigated by the Coast Guard such as SS Edmund Fitzgerald sinking, Exxon Valdez oil spill and various SAR cases not included in the prior listing).
Coast Guard History Subject Files (these are maintained alphabetically and include files on the history of the Coast Guard Academy to the service's participation in Korea, Vietnam, and World Wars I & II).
We also have a reference library on maritime subjects that includes manuals and periodicals related to the U.S. Coast Guard. We also maintain a Special Collections Archive that consists mainly of the personal papers of Coast Guard personnel. The bulk of these collections include scrapbooks, photographs, newspaper clippings, journals, yearbooks, official documents, correspondence, and oral histories.
We maintain artifacts at the Coast Guard Exhibit Center in Forestville, Maryland, and the Coast Guard Academy Museum in New London, Connecticut. The types of artifacts we are currently collecting include:
Coast Guard-related artifacts and equipment from cutters, boats, shore units--past and present.
Items related to U.S. lighthouse and lighthouse keeper history.
Personal items relating to a veteran's service in the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, Steamboat Inspection Service/Bureau of Navigation/Marine Inspection & Navigation, Lighthouse Establishment/Service, Coast Guard, Coast Guard Reserve or Coast Guard Auxiliary---to include medals, patches, uniforms, personal effects, etc.
Items relating to Coast Guard officer and enlisted personnel.
Works of art, paintings, cutter and boat models.
If you are a Coast Guard veteran or the relative, spouse or descendant of one and wish to donate personal papers, photographs and/or memorabilia please see the following contact list. We also encourage the transfer of artifacts and other historical items from current Coast Guard personnel and units. Our interests include all cutter and aircraft models and in particular builder's and presentation models. Artifacts from aviation, afloat, and ashore units are also important. Contact the Coast Guard Curator for more information.
Please note that all prospective donations will be reviewed and considered for approval based on collection need, rarity, uniqueness, age, condition, and association with a person, place, event, or date. We are in the process of developing a formal collections policy, which will be posted online when it is finalized and approved.
To donate archival items to the Historian's Office, please contact Nora Chidlow, Archivist.
Thank you for your interest in preserving all aspects of Coast Guard history.