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UHCL Archives and Special Collections

Information about the collections of and on planning research at the UHCL Archives and Special Collections; created/updated by Matthew M. Peek

Donate Materials to UHCL Archives and Special Collections

If you have original historical archival materials (such as papers, records, audiovisual materials, maps, blueprints, etc.) that fits into one of the three collecting areas listed in the "UHCL Archives Collecting Areas" tab of this LibGuides page--Human Space Flight connected with Johnson Space Center; Clear Lake Area; and UHCL--the UHCL Archives and Special Collections will consider such materials for donation to add to its holdings. Not all materials offered for donation to the UHCL Archives will be accepted, depending on a number of factors--including whether the Archives already has similar or duplicate materials, whether another archives already collects the materials to make them a better fit as a long-term repository, and how useful the content of the materials will be for researchers.

The UHCL Archives does not accept materials without first physically seeing and reviewing the content, condition, and extent of the materials. When contacting the Archives for your materials to be considered for donation, please provided some background on the ownership history and creator(s) of the materials, date range of the materials, general condition and amount of materials, and general content of the materials.

For potential donors in the greater Houston are of Texas, Archives staff is able to make appointments for what are called "site visits," where we come out to a specific location or house to physically review collections for potential acceptance into the Archives' holdings. For those potential donors outside of the greater Houston area, the Archives can conduct virtual visits by video meeting, and coordinate potential donors shipping materials to the Archives for consideration.

The UHCL Archives accepts outside donations through the use of a deposit receipt, bu which donors retain the legal rights to the materials while giving temporary physical custody to the Archives to give the staff time to review the materials to see whether they fit the institution's collection policy and to see the physical condition of the materials. If a collection is to be accepted into the Archives, donors will be asked to sign a deed of gift, which transfers legal ownership and any intellectual rights the donor maintains to the UHCL Archives.

These rights are important, as UHCL Archives has to be able to give permission to researchers to utilize archival materials for purposes such as publications, exhibits, documentaries, websites, etc. Without ownership of the materials and any intellectual rights the donor possesses, UHCL Archives will not be able to provide researchers permission to use the materials for whatever purpose they have. Researchers are less likely to use archival collections or materials that they cannot get permission to use for whatever purpose.

If you have archival materials that you would like to donate or considered for donation, please contact the UHCL Archives and Special Collections' Associate Director at 281-283-3962, or email us at

Formats of Materials Accepted for Donation

The UHCL Archives and Special Collections has within its collection and has the ability to responsibly store, manage, and provide access to, historical items meeting the Archives' collection policy standards and collecting areas. These materials include, but may not be limited to the following media and informational formats:

  • Personal papers (correspondence, records of individuals’ work history and experiences, personnel files of donors, research records and notes, etc.)
  • Official office records, like memos, meeting schedules, meeting notes, work plans, etc.
  • Photographs, negatives, and slides
  • Moving images (8mm, 16mm, 35mm, and various other sizes of film reels; VHS cassettes; DVDs; and other moving image formats)
  • Posters
  • Select published materials
  • Maps, architectural drawings, engineering drawings, and original schematics and drawings (all formats)
  • Oral history interviews
  • Other assorted paper documents
  • Original training manuals, handbooks, checklists, binders of documents, console books (for NASA JSC donors),
  • Computer files and selected born-digital files (based on the UHCL Archives’ storage capabilities and the uniqueness of the materials)
    • If the digital materials are to be accepted into the collection, the records must be in a digital format which matches the digital archival preservation requirements of the UHCL Archives.
  • Selected pieces of smaller original artwork documenting the University (smaller than 18 inches by 24 inches) or Johnson Space Center
    • This could include sketches in notebook pages, personal drawings on documents during meetings, perspective drawings of human space flight-themed content, single sheet drawings, etc. Anything in pencil, charcoal, marker, and watercolor falls into this. 
  • Selected small artifacts (per approval of the Archives’ Associate Director)

Because the archives prioritize original historical records, our long-term preservation storage space is limited, and our staff time to arrange and describe collections are limited, the UHCL Archives does not collect materials that have little to no research value. These materials includes such things as plaques, awards, and trophies, or research copies collected from other archives or libraries, unless their research value is evident or circumstances are exceptional.

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