Donating Your Collection

The Museum’s collections are almost entirely the result of individual gifts during its more than 55 years of existence. Our archives are located at our main site in Perris, California, along with our large collection of historic railcars and locomotives. As the number of collections placed in the Museum’s care has grown, we’ve constructed a new archives building to better preserve these collections and to make them more accessible.

The Museum’s Collection Policy defines five focus companies, the major railroads and transit companies that served Southern California: the Pacific Electric, Los Angeles Railway, Santa Fe , Southern Pacific and Union Pacific railroads, as well as predecessor and related companies. We specialize in materials relating to the Southern California operations of these companies, with our largest holdings being materials from the Red Cars of the Pacific Electric and the Yellow Cars of the Los Angeles Railway.

If you have materials that you think might be a good fit with our collection, please contact us. You spent a lifetime assembling your collection, and it deserves a home where it will be appreciated and shared with the world. Too often heirs have no idea how to deal with these types of collections, and all too often they end up scattered without recognition of their value as a whole, or even disposed of without any understanding of their importance.

Our archives are also a major source of information for the restoration of our historic collection of railcars and locomotives, and so your materials may even contain that vital piece of information we need to complete one of our restoration or exhibit projects.

Your donation may also provide a valuable tax deduction, and we encourage you to speak to your tax advisor about the benefits of a donation to the Museum archives. If you have any questions about how the archives can serve as a future home for your collection please contact the Education and Exhibits Chair.

If you are contemplating future gifts of collections, estate planning, or naming the Museum in your will as the ultimate beneficiary of your living legacy, you are encouraged to contact the Archives Manager to determine the Museum’s extent of interest in the items that you have.