Background to lending from the collections
Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales encourages objects and items from its rich and diverse collections to be used as widely as possible, to be a source of inspiration, excitement and instruction. Details of these collections appear elsewhere under Curatorial & Research.
We facilitate many loans each year, not only within Wales but worldwide. These range from loans to other UK national museums and other major overseas museums for touring exhibitions, through to loans via the partnership schemes 'Cyfoeth Cymru Gyfan -Sharing Treasures' and 'Celf Cymru Gyfan - ArtShare Wales' to other museums across Wales. In the period April 2005 to March 2006 within the UK alone we made 405 loans, involving 26,477 objects and items to 253 institutions. The map illustrates our range of loan provision across Wales, which support some 134 exhibitions at these venues, involving 3,135 objects and items.
We also provide research loans to institutions across the world, especially from the natural science collections; these tend to be on a longer-term basis than those loaned out for exhibitions.
Facilitating loans is a core activity within Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, as described in the Policy on Loans (available also in hardcopy on request). Institutions borrowing from the collections must be able to demonstrate that they can meet national standards in the care and stewardship of the loaned objects and items. We are also committed to improving the facilitation of loans to non-national museums through our partnership schemes and by adopting the guidelines and standards issued by the National Museums Directors Conference in its document guidance on loan procedures between national and non-national museums.
Applying for a loan for exhibitions
Loan requests are considered on an individual basis initially by the subject Head of Department.
Loans for exhibitions normally require a minimum of six month’s notice, in writing. These initial enquiries should state why the loan is required, where it will be displayed, when the loan is required to commence, and for how long. Any particular issues, especially if the loan is for a touring exhibition, should be noted, including the location of all potential and accounting for any periods of storage between venues.
The relevant member of staff will consider the loan request, and advise the Head of Department, particularly taking into account the suitability for loan of the object or item in terms of its conservation state. (If the object’s condition is likely to influence the final decision, an alternative object or item will be offered, if available). They will also advise on any special handling or transport requirements or display constraints, so that an estimate of costs for the loan to the borrower can be made at the time of initial response. We will also seek through the Museums Security Advisor an assessment of the lending institution’s security standards. Staff will independently ask for clarification of environmental conditions, display cases etc. through issue of a Standard Facilities Report. The Museum will assist lending institutions in finding potential solutions to any difficulties identified. We will aim to provide acknowledgement of any loan request within three weeks, providing also an indication of the likely timescale for the decision-making process.
Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales is committed to keeping all costs to a borrowing institution to a minimum. Only actual costs will be charged to cover areas such as transport, staff expenses during installation and mounting or framing requirements. The notable exception is for overseas loans, where an administration fee is usually levied.
Applying for a loan for research or other purpose
Procedures for applying for a loan for purposes other than exhibition, in particular for research, are generally less onerous, especially in terms of lead-in times. Borrowers are asked to contact the relevant department for details of their procedures, which vary slightly. Research workers borrowing from us for the first time will, in the first instance, be asked to complete a Loan Application Form, available from the relevant department. Subsequent requests may not require completion of this form.
Requests for loans will be considered by the relevant Head of Department and specialist curatorial staff, who will consider and advise on any conditions of loan, for example in relation to sampling.
Again, we will endeavour to keep all costs related to agreed loans to a minimum.