San Diego Model Railroad Museum

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San Diego Model Railroad Museum’s

Donation Policy and Procedure

Donations to the museum’s Curatorial and Library collections are by appointment only. To schedule an appointment please contact Alyssa Thompson, Deputy Director, or Alexandra Kron, the Curator of Collections. Unsolicited donations or donations dropped off at the museum will be returned to their owner or disposed of as stipulated in our Collections Policy.




Donations to the Museum’s curatorial collections must meet the following requirements:


1. The donation contains:


A.  Accurate models of G-,O-, HO-, N-, and Z–scale trains, including freight, specialty, and passenger    cars;

B.  Historic (pre-war) tinplate toy trains, buildings, and accessories;

C.  Photographs, maps and drawings of significant events relating to the railroads;  D. Railroad clothing, uniforms, equipment, insignia, and memorabilia;

E.  Books, manuals and manuscripts relating to the model railroad hobby and railroads;

F.  Art related to prototype model railroads and trains.


2. The Donor provides a full inventory list of the donation including any information regarding historical significance and ownership history. If the donation contains trains, then we request the donor provide information regarding the scale, manufacturer, engine or car number, and year made if possible.




Once an appointment has been scheduled, the donor will bring with them an inventory list of their donation for the museum’s Collections Committee to review. If the collection is small, then the physical objects may be presented as well. Once the Collections Committee has reviewed the donation, a determination will be made whether the donation will be accepted or declined, and the donor will be contacted. If objects are accepted, the donor will sign a transfer of ownership document and receive a thank you letter with an IRS letter attached for their tax filings. Objects that are declined will be returned to their owner. If objects are not claimed, after attempts to contact, the museum will dispose of them.