Re: photography in a museums

Ron Kley

Existing policies vary widely. Your situation seems to be one in which the photography is of a “commercial” nature, for which museums typically charge a substantial fee. Perhaps more important than fee structure is the fact that commercial photography typically involves equipment more elaborate and bulky than common handheld cameras — equipment whose setup and movement can put collections at risk — and whose very presence can interfere with or prevent enjoyment of your site by ordinary visitors. Camera crews, unless strictly monitored, are frequently inclined to re-arrange a setting to improve camera angles and image composition, and their personnel are seldom trained in the proper handling of collection artifacts. Intense lights that “bake” (and/or fade) collection items pose another predictable problem.

Be careful; insist upon insurance coverage (with your institution named as co-insured) adequate to cover any conceivable damage; have every action of the camera crew monitored by a staff member with supervisory authority.

If you care to contact me privately ( I can steer you to a museum that hosts a great many still and video “shoots” and has developed policies and procedures that are about as close to “bulletproof” as you’re apt to find.

Good luck!

Ron Kley
Alonzo Wood Homestead