decision-making criteria re: loaning core/primary artifacts

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    • #132374
      Charlene Martin

      Hello everyone-

      I am writing a collection management policy for my museum, and need to deal with requests for outgoing loans at the same time. The requester has asked to loan items that I have determined are core/primary materials. I realize there are general considerations such as the preservation condition of items to be loaned and whether the loan institution can provide proper preservation environment, insurance, etc. – but I am wondering about considerations re: what the absence of the core/primary objects will do to the mission of the museum. The Walters Art Museum Outgoing Loan Policy ( includes criteria like that, and I think that in the case of core items, it would be a matter of whether I have a similar or duplicate object, whether it is ranked in the second tier of the core group, etc. Does anyone have criteria used to make decisions re: what items can be loaned, that they would be willing to share?

      I have read Simmons and Buck, but their publications deal with proper procedure, not decision-making at a local level (understandably).

      I know this will  be a great question for tomorrow’s chat re: CMP’s, hope to see many of you there! Thank you for your help with this.

    • #132377

      It is great to have a question for the webinar, a day ahead of time. Charlene, I think your question may require a bit more discussion that we can manage online today, but I have it right in front of me, along with a relevant passage in a current collections management policy. If your issues are not addressed this afternoon, please feel free to pursue them further, and I would be glad to try and help.

    • #132376

      The collection policy enables you to deny requests that you deem are in the best interest of the institution and the requested items. Although as a librarian, I am in the business of coming from a place of yes, we have policies in place that we refer to in the event when someone is difficult or demanding. Not that I am saying that is the case here. Most folks will be reasonable when you say it is not our policy to loan items on permanent display, current display or items we deem to fragile for transportation.

    • #132375

      Charlene, I am sorry we were not able to answer your question yesterday on the webinar, but I would be glad to address it now. The element of the collections management policy here that pertains to your question is as follows: “The Foundation does not lend objects required for its own exhibitions or study.” This is a broad statement but it does not refer to a core group of artifacts because we do not have that category among our collections. Every loan request is evaluated on its merits, but we start with a restrictive statement so that we can be more lenient if the occasion calls for it. I feel that is easier to begin with a strict stance, and become more generous if need be. In previous policies I have written, we stated that our museum would lend only to accredited museums — in practice we were more lenient, but that policy statement certainly made a stand for strict requirements for borrowing institutions.

      If I have not answered your question completely, please let me know, and I shall try again.

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