Recover Missing Records and Artifacts

Help the National Archives Recover Missing Records and Artifacts

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Archival Recovery Program (ARP):

  • Searches for missing holdings.
  • Works with individuals or entities contacting NARA about possible missing holdings.
  • Helps determine if items belong in NARA’s holdings.

 

We need your help to ensure that United States government documents (federal, congressional, and presidential records) that have been lost or stolen are returned safely and securely to the National Archives, where they will be preserved, described, and made available to all citizens and scholars.

At times U.S. government documents, which record our shared national experience, are removed from our buildings. When such records are stolen, our shared history is lost and our ability to maintain accountability in our government is lessened. Removing government documents is illegal theft, prosecutable by law. The consequences for perpetrators of such theft can be significant.

Missing items on this website may not include all items missing from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) holdings. If you have questions or concerns please contact the Archival Recovery Program.

What can you do? 

If you are a document collector, dealer, or a staff member at another archives, library, or museum, you can:

  • Avoid buying, selling, or trading in lost or stolen historical U.S. government documents.
  • Identify lost or stolen U.S. government documents and report them to the National Archives.

Why report lost documents? 

National Archives staff experts will work with you to determine whether historical documents belong to the United States, saving you time, the loss of your money, and potential lawsuits, and ensuring that we as American citizens continue to own the records of our own government.

What happens if you help the National Archives by reporting missing U.S. government documents? 

National Archives staff members will follow through to determine if the document in question is a lost or stolen historical U.S. government document. If it is found to be so, National Archives staff will request the return of the document. Contact the National Archives to report a lost or stolen historical U.S. government document. You may be contacted for additional information, and will receive a thank you from the National Archives for your assistance

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