Principles for Lending and Borrowing

As museums reopen following the UK lockdowns, many are under pressure from reduced resources. The national and regional museums whose leaders form the National Museum Directors’ Council are committed to lending as widely as possible to support the sector during this critical period of recovery.

To ensure that as many people as possible across the country can access the UK’s collections, NMDC and TEG have published the Principles for Lending and Borrowing and the Guide to Borrowing.


The rich and diverse collections of the UK’s museums and galleries have the capacity to inspire, excite, educate and bring people together. Lending and borrowing enables these collections to be accessed and enjoyed by diverse audiences, creates opportunities for new research and interpretations, and promotes collections as a valuable public resource.

A partnership approach to lending and borrowing can help build long term collaboration and maximise the impact for the public and organisations involved. Taking the time to understand the process from both sides helps loans to proceed more smoothly and effectively.

The Principles for Lending and Principles for Borrowing are accompanied by a Guide to Borrowing. This practical guide takes you through the lending and borrowing process and is designed to be relevant for the variety of organisations engaged in loans-based activities. 

To read the Principles and Guide online please click here.

To download the document please click here.

The Principles and Guide aim to address sector demand for an ease and openness to lending and borrowing in the UK and are informed by Arts Council England’s 'Ready to Borrow’ programme, the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund and TEG’s ‘Preparing to Borrow’ programme and Lending and Borrowing Experiences Survey Report (2017). The Principles were drafted following a series of workshops in 2019 with the assistance of a Working Group.

To download the Principles for Lending separately please click here, or click here for the Principles for Borrowing.

This Guide updates NMDC’s Loans Between National and Non-national Museums: Standards and Practical Guidelines (2003) and responds to the Mendoza Review: an independent review of museums in England and the Strategic Review of DCMS Sponsored Museums (both 2017). These reports recognised the wide-reaching value of lending and borrowing between national and nonnational museums and called for national museums to provide a more supportive environment for lending and borrowing in the UK.