Loans Between National and Non-national Museums: New Standards and Practical Guidelines

1 September 2003

Loans Between National and Non-national MuseumsThe National Museums Directors' Conference has published a new document setting out new standards for national museums and practical guidelines to facilitate loans. The document was distributed with this month's edition of Museums Journal and is also available on the NMDC website.

The collections of the UK's national museums and galleries are unique in the world in terms of their size, richness and diversity and have the capacity to inspire, excite and instruct in equal measure. Their collections are held in trust for the benefit of the nation and are important components of a single national collection.

The national museums are committed to improving access to this 'national collection' not only through exhibition, display, reference and research within their own institutions, but also by lending objects from their collections to publicly funded museums all over the UK.

Thousands of objects are lent every year by national and non-national museums throughout the UK. However, the National Museum Directors' Conference recognises that the achievement of the necessary step change in access to the national collections requires a clear and specific commitment to standards of best practice.

This document, commissioned by the National Museum Directors' Conference in September 2001 and produced by a working party made up of representatives of both national and regional museums, therefore publicly makes that commitment by setting out standards that national museums will meet relating to loans to museums within the UK. The details of these standards are set out at the beginning of the document.

The rest of the document addresses the loan process in more detail and sets out practical guidance on steps both borrower and lender can take to facilitate the process and make best use of the resources available, and in so doing ensure the standards in Section 1 are met.

This document focuses specifically on short-term loans for museum exhibitions. However, many of the principles will apply to loans for research and long-term loans.

Download the document