The National Building Museum’s permanent collection illuminates the building process and documents changing architectural styles and construction techniques. The current collections contain approximately 100,000 photographic images and negatives, 130,000 architectural prints and drawings, 100 linear feet of documents, and over 20,000 objects, including material samples, building fragments, and architectural toys.
Thanks to the generous support of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, some of our permanent collection can be viewed through our Online Collections Database. We will be updating the database on an ongoing basis. Collections are also available through research request below.
The Museum collects material that illustrates or reflects achievements in the American built environment, the processes involved in producing the built environment, and its global impact. The Museum only collects material that we have the staff, financial resources, and facilities to manage properly, for which we have a clear and legal title, and which is donated unconditionally. All additions to the Museum’s permanent collection must first be reviewed by the Museum’s Collections Committee. You can learn more about our donation process in our Collections Management Policy.
If you are interested in donating an object or objects to the National Building Museum’s Permanent Collection, please fill out the preliminary form by clicking here and someone from the Museum will be in touch shortly.
The National Building Museum collection is available for research and reproduction, and you can read about our policies and fees in our Permission For Use form. For the safety of our artifacts, research materials are shared digitally whenever possible. The National Building Museum collection is available for research by appointment only.
You can review our Guidelines for Conducting Research in the Permanent Collection or reach out with your inquiry by clicking here for Research and Reproduction Requests.