Our guidance for Outgoing Exhibition Loans, extracted from the Museum’s Collections Access and Information Policy, can be downloaded here (PDF 76kB).
How to request a loan
Prospective borrowers will need to submit a formal request to borrow and demonstrate that they can meet certain conditions throughout the course of the loan.
Information to include
Your request will need to outline the following:
- details of the item(s) requested for loan, including Natural History Museum registration numbers where possible
- the exhibition title, venue(s) and dates for display
- a rationale for the inclusion of the item(s) within the exhibition, also outlining broader display themes
- name and contact details of the person(s) responsible for exhibition planning at the venue
It would also be helpful if you could provide at this stage:
- details of how the requested item(s) will be insured or indemnified
- comments on whether the exhibition will be charged for
- UKRG Facility Report, Security and Display Case supplements
Preparing your request
Prior to submitting a formal request, prospective borrowers are encouraged to carry out preliminary research on the material they might wish to borrow. If you are unsure which items you would like to borrow for your exhibition please email the Registrar’s team on: Registrar@nhm.ac.uk who will put you in touch with the relevant curatorial department.
The Museum welcomes informal discussions with its curatorial staff a minimum of 12 months before the intended exhibition opening.
Submitting your request
The Museum requires a formal loan request to be submitted a minimum of 9 months ahead of the exhibition opening date. Loan requests should be made through a formal letter addressed to the Director:
Sir Michael Dixon, Director
Natural History Museum
Requests should be posted to the address above or emailed to: Registrar@nhm.ac.uk
All requests will be acknowledged on receipt.
How we approve loans
The Museum will assess the request, considering:
- whether the request was submitted with sufficient time to prepare the item(s); this is a minimum of 9 months before the exhibition opens
- the fitness of the item(s) for transport and display
- the availability of the item(s), acknowledging any prior commitments
- the suitability of the borrowing institution
- resources required to facilitate the loan
- the degree of risk involved in the loan and what interventions can be made to resolve these to the Museum’s satisfaction
- the impact on the Museum’s own displays at South Kensington, The Natural History Museum at Tring or in Touring Exhibitions
- the status of the exhibition to which the item would be lent, how significant the item is to the exhibition and the purpose of the exhibition
- Loans from the Museum’s archives are also subject to approval by The National Archives
Individual items of exceptional scientific value will be referred to the Trustees of the Natural History Museum for consideration.
The Registrar will notify prospective borrowers of the decision 8-12 weeks after the receipt of the request. If the request is approved in principle it is conditional on the borrower meeting the Museum’s conditions of loan. The Museum endeavours to facilitate the loan requests it receives but reserves the right to refuse a request following assessment of the above considerations.
Security and facilities documentation
The Natural History Museum lends collections in line with the UK Government Indemnity Scheme Guidelines for National Institutions (PDF 787kb). These include standards for display, transportation, access and security.
Prospective borrowers will be asked to provide essential information on the intended venue in a standard facilities report, preferably the UK Registrar’s Group format, along with Security and Display case supplements, 6 months prior to the Exhibition opening date.
The UKRG templates can be downloaded below:
- Security (DOC 347kB)
- Facilities (DOC 256kB)
- Display case (DOC 209kB)
All potential loans, whether to UK or International venues, are submitted to the UK National Security Adviser, based at Arts Council England (ACE). The Security Adviser will either visit or send a questionnaire to each venue to confirm that the security arrangements conform to those laid down in the General Security Condition set out in the Government Indemnity Scheme.
Prospective borrowers will also be required to provide 3 months’ environmental data from the proposed display space. This should preferably be for the time frames being requested.
The Museum reserves the right to withdraw approval for a loan if specific security, display or other concerns cannot be addressed.
The borrower will be expected to cover all direct costs associated with the loan, including but not limited to:
- transportation and courier costs
- crating and packing materials
- mounting and framing
- condition reporting and photography
- insurance or cover through a national indemnity scheme
The Museum makes additional service charges for loans to venues other than UK museums and galleries and for loans to UK Museums and galleries which will be used in a commercial tour.
Cancellation of loans
The Museum reserves the right to charge the borrower for any conservation or other costs which may have been incurred should the loan be cancelled by the Borrower. Cancellations must be made in writing to the Registrar.
Insurance and Indemnity
Borrowers will be required to provide proof of ‘nail to nail’ insurance or indemnity cover for the item(s) in English before the item(s) are transported to the borrower. As a guide, the following approaches to insurance or indemnity are acceptable to the Museum:
- Government Indemnity for UK Loans
- Government Indemnities from Foreign Governments
- Commercial Insurance
The borrower may also need to provide assurance of immunity from judicial seizure or comparable assurance from a government body or representative of an appropriate authority.
Our Registration team will be on hand to assist if you have any queries, and more information on Indemnity can be found on the DCMS Government webpage.
Requests to borrow for commercial usage will be processed in the same manner and subject to the same criteria for assessment as non-commercial requests.
The Museum is open to requests to borrow items from the collection for long term display. Requests must be made in the same manner as for a temporary display and will be subject to the borrower meeting the Museum’s terms and conditions of loan.