Your institution may loan or borrow objects for multiple reasons, including, but not limited to, exhibition and research. When you consider borrowing or loaning objects, what legal and ethical issues should you take into account? In this module, you will learn what institutions must do in order to pursue incoming and outgoing loans.


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Practical Exercise

The purpose of this activity is to help you engage colleagues within your institution (or within your work group) to think about different “monkey wrench” scenarios that can happen when objects are loaned. For this activity, participants are asked to work together to write a news article about a recent loan to “their institution.”

Discussion Questions
Many of our institutions either loan objects from their collection, or borrow objects from other institutions for exhibition or research purposes. This means someone else is responsible for your objects, or you are responsible for someone else’s objects during a period of time.

  • Who determines how you manage responsibility for the object during those times?
  • Whose authority do you follow in the event of a threat or damage to the object?
  • Under what circumstances do you loan objects from your collection?
  • Under what circumstances do you NOT loan?
  • Who is responsible for the insurance for loaned or borrowed objects?
  • What decisions can a borrower make about your objects while in their possession?
  • What is your formal process for care in the event of an emergency?
  • Who should determine whether or not you charge loan fees?
  • If your institution charges a loan fee, what expenses does the fee cover?

During the webinar, we discussed many aspects of loaning collection objects. In regards to your collection discuss the following:

  • In what ways does your institution prove legal ownership to your collection?
  • Do you have any issues with abandoned loans or property?
  • What are some legal considerations you may have in regards to loans?

Utilizing the game spinner have each participant take a turn at the spinner.  Read the question or topic to the group and discuss among the group. Use examples from your policy or institution. 


Online Resources
2012 Florida Statutes 265.565, Museum Loans

National Park Service (NPS), Museum Handbook, Part 2a: Museum Records, Chapter 2: Accessioning, Parts P-S: Incoming Loans

National Park Service (NPS), Museum Handbook, Part 2a: Museum Records, Chapter 5: Outgoing Loans

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