Reviewed September 2010
Next Review September 2015
Revised March 2012


This document forms part of a suite of documents that define our approach to loans. As such it should be read in conjunction with:

  • Our Terms and Conditions for Research Loans and, where applicable, our Terms and Conditions for Preparation, Sampling and Analysis.

1. AIM

The collections that we care for are held in trust for the nation. The aim of this policy is to ensure that we lend our objects or specimens to a wide range of institutions and bodies in order to ensure they are used as fully as possible and for the benefit of all.


Our objective is to expand our loan activities so that even more people might enjoy and learn from objects in our care. We lend objects or specimens to other organisations to help them to prepare more comprehensive displays, to broaden educational provision and to provide access to items which would otherwise remain in store. Within Wales, we have formal Partnership Schemes (Cyfoeth Cymru Gyfan – Sharing Treasures, and Celf Cymru Gyfan – ArtShare Wales) to further this. We also lend items so that research can be undertaken that our own staff might not be able to carry out.


3.1 We agree loans strictly in accordance with our stated ethical principles, which follow the Museums Association’s Code of Ethics (2008). Throughout, we shall aim for best practice in all our activities. We are guided by the National Museum Directors’ Conference document Loans Between National and Non-national Museums: New Standards and Practical Guidelines (2003).

3.2 All requests for loans must be submitted in writing to the relevant Keeper. We will consider all loan requests reasonably and transparently. When assessing loan requests, we take into account the public or research benefit of the proposed loan, our ability to manage the loan, and the well-being of the object(s) or specimen(s) requested. We aim to provide a reasonable response to all loan applications dependent on the resources available at the time.

3.3 We will ensure that there are signed written agreements in place in advance of any loan. We will record information about the borrower and the purpose of the loan on either the Loan Agreement or the Terms and Conditions for Research Loans form along with the specific conditions that attach to the loan. Any information collected during the loan application process will only be used and retained in connection with that application and in accordance with our current data protection and freedom of information policies.

3.4 Occasionally we may find it necessary to turn down a loan request. We will inform you of our reasons in writing. Reasons for refusal include, but are not limited to:

  • the objects or specimens are required for display, study by staff or students, or for another educational purpose at the Museum during the proposed period of loan
  • it has not been possible to resolve issues at the loan venue such that the objects or specimens will be exposed to an unacceptable level of risk
  • the objects or specimens will be put at risk as a result of potential political or economic difficulties;
  • the objects or specimens will be used to support or promote an ethical position contrary to that held by us;
  • the objects or specimens are too fragile, in a poor or unstable condition or at excessive risk of damage from handling or during transit.



4.1 For exhibition and display, loan requests should normally be submitted six months in advance of the proposed loan. We prefer requests for substantial or particularly important loans, or requests for foreign loans, to be made twelve months in advance. Requests made at shorter notice will be considered at the discretion of the Keeper of the relevant Department. Requests to the Art Department are reviewed twice a year in March and October.

4.2 Those wishing to borrow items for research purposes must contact the Museum before they instigate a major project which is dependant on use of the Museum’s collections. Where possible a visit should be made to the Museum to assess the scope of the collections prior to a loan application being made.

4.3 Requests to borrow items for educational purposes from organisations such as, but not limited to, science centres, higher education institutes and environmental organisations will be considered but.only a limited range of robust and relatively low value items are available for this type of loan. Prospective borrowers will be advised of what is available at the time the request is made.

4.4 Under exceptional circumstances and at our discretion, loans can be made to commercial outlets, including television companies or publishers. We retain the right for one or more members of staff to be present when material is used for photographic or filming purposes on non-Museum property. Fees – based on our framework of charges current at the time – will be charged for both the loan of the items and staff attendance. Such fee will reflect the potential of partnership benefits.

4.5 Requests to borrow items for restoration or for the creation of replicas will be considered at our discretion..


5.1 Generally, authority for the lending and borrowing of objects and specimens within the UK, lies with the Keeper of the relevant Department. Within the UK, if an individual item has a value to the Museum above £7,500, its loan must be approved by the Director of Collections & Research. If an individual item has a value above £15,000 its loan must be approved by the Director General. The overseas loan of individual items with a value above £7,500 must be approved by the Trustees.

5.2 Agreeing insurance arrangements forms an integral part of this process and are approved on the same basis.


6.1 The risk in items to be loaned and the transfer of such risk will be dealt with in the Loan Agreement and Terms and Conditions for Research Loans. Depending on the purpose of the loan and the nature and value of the items being lent, we will generally require borrowers to take out insurance on a ‘nail to nail’ basis for the period of the loan. The level of insurance cover required will be determined as part of the application process. The borrower must provide proof of cover as part of this process.

6.2 Most non-UK Government/federal/state indemnities may be acceptable in lieu of commercial insurance for overseas loans. However, the Museum reserves the right to request that the borrower purchase commercial insurance either in addition to or as an alternative to Indemnity cover.


7.1 The requirements for couriering the loan during transport and installation will be determined early in the loan process. Consideration will be given to the levels of training and experience of staff in handling similar objects at the borrowing institution.

The Museum will normally send a courier in the following circumstances:

  • if we have not lent to a venue previously;
  • if the object loaned is fragile or installation is particularly complex;
  • if the object is rare or of high value;
  • if the journey is long or hazardous

7.2 Where couriers are used, transport should be arranged to be as near to the opening date as possible to allow the couriers to see objects placed on display.

7.3 Where a courier is not used during the return of a loan, the borrower must repack the objects or specimens in the same way they were received using the original packaging and boxes.

7.4 At least three weeks notice should be given for the collection and return of loans.

7.5 For overseas loans, custom formalities and the provision of export licences etc are the responsibility of the borrower. Borrowers must take into account any relevant legislation (eg CITES) and make appropriate custom arrangements.


8.1 No physical intervention (sampling, conservation etc) may be carried out without prior written agreement from the Keeper of the lending department to the exact scope of any work and how it will be documented.

8.2 Exhibition and display

8.2.1 We agree loans for exhibition and display only if adequate access is offered. Generally, such loans will be to museums, galleries, interpretation centres, civic buildings, universities, etc. to which the public has ready and equal access. In certain situations (eg government buildings) access on an appointment basis may be considered acceptable - since we effectively play the part of the Government Art Collection in Wales, loans to government buildings also fall into this category.

8.2.2 Due diligence: Borrowers will warrant, covenant and agree that they have no reasonable cause to believe that any object comprised in the exhibition in which the objects shall be displayed was stolen, illegally exported or illegally imported from its country of origin, as defined in the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, (1970).

8.2.3 All borrowing institutions (including each venue for a touring exhibition) must complete Facilities, Security and Display Case Report Forms supplied by us confirming that they comply with all fire and security provisions and with all environmental conditions, both during handling and unpacking, and within galleries and cases. Where required, the contents of these reports will be passed to the Museums Security Adviser of the Arts Council England for advice.

8.2.4 The borrower will be expected to demonstrate that they can provide the environmental conditions specified on the Loan Agreement in the proposed handling and display locations for a minimum three month period before any loan may proceed. Wherever practical the Museum will work with the prospective borrower to find acceptable solutions to any environmental control or monitoring problems.

8.3 Research loans

8.3.1 We will consider loan applications with museums and other educational institutions in any country. The receiving institution must have a recognised professional member of staff in the appropriate field or have access to advice of comparable standing. At the discretion of the relevant Keeper material may be loaned to an individual providing they can demonstrably meet the terms specified in our Terms and Conditions for Research Loans

8.3.2 Where the borrower also requires to undertake preparation, analysis or sampling of specimens on loan, permission must be sought from ourselves in writing, prior to the issue of the loan (see Terms & Condition for Research Loans). Approval of such work will be based on consideration of the scientific, historical and cultural importance of the material concerned; the needs of both present and future users and legal and ethical issues relevant to the material.


9.1 If an object or specimen on outward loan is lost, damaged or put at risk, or if the circumstances of the loan change in any way, this must be reported to us immediately.


10.1 We will not normally charge a fee for a loan but we do normally expect the borrowing institutions to cover our costs, unless we have reciprocal arrangements with them. Costs may include but are not restricted to those associated with upgrading security requirements in accordance with the advice of the Museum Security Advisor, insurance, preparatory conservation, photography, copyright, mounting, framing, packing or crating of loans, and outward and return transport costs which may include travel and subsistence for a courier. A facility fee (currently £400) may be charged on loans for exhibition and display to venues outside the UK.


11.1 All loans are for a fixed term as detailed in the Loan Agreement or Terms and Conditions for Research Loans; the expression 'permanent loan' has no status in law, so we do not agree to loans for an indefinite period.

11.2 We reserve the right to recall any item from loan at any time, but will not normally do so unless in an emergency or where the borrower fails to comply with our loans policy and the details recorded in the Loan Agreement or Terms and Conditions for Research Loans.


12.1 All inward loans must comply with due diligence and be in accordance with our ethical stance.

12.2 Indemnity for inward loans from institutions and individuals lending to the Museum is provided under the terms of the Government Indemnity Scheme (GIS). This is essential, as it ensures that we are fully covered for any claims for loss or damage which we may well be unable to meet from our own resources. Indemnities are currently issued by the Welsh Assembly Government and are for a specified period. The valuation of individual objects or specimens offered for loan will be agreed with the owners before the loan is accepted. For inward loans that are not eligible for cover under GIS, we will agree insurance arrangements with the lender prior to the loan commencing. Indemnities of existing long-term inward loans where the value of the item is £1,000,000 or above will be renewed annually, so that their valuation can be reviewed. Loans of lesser value will be re-indemnified every three years.

12.3 We will regularly check and report upon items as requested by the lending body. If an object or specimen that is on loan to us is lost, damaged or put at risk, or if the circumstances of the loan change in any way, we will report this immediately to the lender. We will not undertake any conservation work or other physical intervention without prior written agreement from the lender to the exact scope of any work and how it will be documented.

12.4 We will ensure that up-to-date information about the borrowed objects or specimens is maintained; this includes but is not restricted to their location, security arrangements and their physical well-being including records of their condition and storage or display environment. A condition report form will be completed by an appropriately-qualified member of staff when items arrive in and depart from the museum. In addition, we will complete a Facilities Report for inward display or exhibition loans.

12.5 We will normally meet all reasonable costs associated with the loan, but return transport to a destination outside the UK must be agreed prior to receipt of the loan.

12.6 In exceptional circumstances material on loan may present a threat to other material in which case all efforts will be made to return items as expeditiously as possible. If the original lender cannot be contacted or, if that person has died, the executors of the estate or their legal representative, the Trustees may determine that the item should be disposed of, having taken legal advice from the Museum’s solicitors. Should this be the case, we will follow the standard disposal procedures as set out in the Policy on Acquisition and Disposal of the Collections taking advice from the Museum's solicitors as appropriate.