Objects borrowed from other institutions are cared for according to the specifications of a written loan agreement
What conservation-related information should be included in a loan agreement?
For every loan object the written loan agreement should include:
- • A detailed object condition report. This provides baseline information on the object’s condition when it was accepted by the receiving institution. If a condition report does not accompany the object, the exhibit conservator will need to develop one and obtain concurrence from the loaning institution.
- • The length of the loan
- • A clear description of all conservation requirements. These include security requirements, appropriate environmental conditions, and light exposure. The requirements for the allowable environmental conditions must be itemized in the agreement. Preferably an acceptable range for each environmental feature will be provided along with the procedure to follow if conditions become deficient.
- • Requirements for emergencies and insurance
- • The limits on remedial conservation
Why is it essential to abide by all care requirements in the loan agreement for borrowed objects?
- The exhibit team and all other museum personnel must follow all care requirements set by the loaning institution to ensure that the object is returned in the condition it was lent. Failure to do so could not only damage the loaned object, it could also damage the museum’s reputation. The exhibit team should:
- • Satisfy all conservation requirements. The exhibit must provide the conservation and security safeguards required by the lending institution, even if these are more stringent than the safeguards required for the recipient’s own collections. There are instances when unattainable requirements can be re-negotiated.
- • Provide appropriate collections care. The record keeping, handling, and display of loan materials must meet the high standards set for an institution’s own collections. Routinely inspect the loaned objects for any obvious changes and periodically perform more thorough condition reviews.
Sample Form: The Harry Ransom Center (not included here)