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Service Update August 23, 2021:

Due to our current staffing schedule we will be unable to accommodate any outgoing loans of collection materials at the present time.


NYU Special Collections will consider requests from institutions with established exhibition programs, acceptable physical environments, and qualified staff proficient in the handling of requested materials. Loans are not made to individuals. Requests will be evaluated based on the following criteria: the condition and value of the requested material, its relevance to the exhibition and to ongoing scholarly research, the facilities of the borrowing institution, the duration of the exhibition, and sufficient lead time for loan processing. Traveling exhibitions will be considered, but the Library reserves the right to limit the loan to the original venue and a facilities report will be required from all venues on the tour prior to the approval of any loan.

Loan Requests

Initial Inquiry

Initial loan inquiries should be made in writing 12 months prior to the beginning of the loan period. Inquiries may be directed to Requests made with insufficient lead-time for necessary loan processing may be refused.

The initial inquiry will include a brief introduction of the exhibition, an explanation of how the requested item(s) will contribute to the exhibition, and the location of the exhibition venue(s). A response to the initial inquiry will be given within 4 weeks, during which time a preliminary evaluation of the requested material will be made.

Formal Requests

If the initial inquiry is given permission to proceed, a formal written loan request from the director or highest signing officer of the borrowing institution must be made at least 9 months prior to shipment. See above for contact information for NYU Special Collections.

The formal written request must include the following:

Loan Agreement

Once NYU Special Collections has agreed in principle to the loan, a Loan Agreement will be sent to the borrower. The Loan Agreement will present the estimated loan costs and outline the requirements for packing, transport, and exhibition environment conditions. A courier from NYU Special Collections may be required to accompany high value or complex works. Travel and associated costs for said courier will be paid for by the borrower. The borrower must return a signed copy of the Loan Agreement form no less than 4 weeks prior to the proposed loan period.


The borrower will cover all loan costs, including but not limited to: the loan fee, insurance, packing and shipping, matting, framing, and/or mount making, and any necessary conservation actions. See External Loan Fee Schedule for more information.

The standard loan fee is $150.00 per item. The loan fee covers loan processing, condition documentation and reporting, and preparing the item for loan.

In some instances, borrowers may be required to underwrite the cost of producing surrogates for use at the Library while materials are on loan.

If conservation is necessary, the borrower will be provided an estimate and invoiced for the cost once the expense has been approved by the borrower.

The borrower will assume the cost of an independent appraisal if that is necessary to determine the value of a loan item.

In the event of a loan cancellation, the borrowing institution is required to reimburse NYU Special Collections for expenses incurred in preparation for the loan.

Loan Conditions

The average loan period is six months from when the item leaves to when it returns to NYU Special Collections. Longer loans may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

A detailed condition report will be provided by NYU Special Collections for each loan item. The borrower will review the report(s) when the item(s) arrive and at their departure. Any changes in condition must be immediately reported to the contact provided in the Loan Agreement.

Conservation and remedial treatment of the loan materials by the borrower may not be undertaken, and loan materials may not be removed from exhibition and/or placed in storage (except in an emergency situation), without express consent from NYU Special Collections.

Damage to, destruction of, or loss of the loan item must be immediately reported to NYU Special Collections by phone to the contact provided in the Loan Agreement, followed by a written report. The written report should include an account of the circumstances, a description of damages, and photo documentation.

Loan materials may not be reproduced in any way while under the care of the borrowing institution without prior consent in writing from NYU Special Collections. The source of the loan will be acknowledged on the exhibition label for the item(s) and in the exhibition catalog as, ‘Courtesy, NYU Special Collections’. Two complimentary copies of catalogs produced for the exhibition should be sent to the lending collection at NYU Libraries.

If NYU Libraries perceives a violation of terms of the External Exhibition Loan Policy or the Loan Agreement, or if the well-being of the loan material is in potential jeopardy, NYU Libraries reserves the right to withdraw from the loan at any point without retaliation from the borrower.


The borrower must provide All Risk Fine Art insurance with wall-to-wall coverage for the full value of the loaned item(s). The loaned was item(s) will be insured at value(s) assigned by NYU Special Collections. If the value must be determined by an independent appraiser, the borrower will assume appraisal costs. The borrower will agree to cover any deductibles under its policy.


Only experienced, professional, bonded fine arts shippers, and their packing and crating services, may be used for packing and transport of loan materials. The fine art transport service used by the borrower must be approved by NYU Special Collections. Loan materials must be returned in the same condition as on delivery. Borrowing institutions agree to cover all packing and crating costs. Loans that involve valuable or fragile material may require a courier whose presence will be required at all times during the transport, unpacking, installation, de-installation, and repacking of the borrowed material. Borrower will cover courier travel costs, and provide standard housing and per diem allowances.

Exhibition Environment and Security

NYU Libraries requires a relative humidity of 50% and temperature of 70°F in exhibition, storage, and packing areas. A fluctuation of ±5% in relative humidity and ±5°F is allowable within a 24-hour period. The borrower may be asked to send environmental reports periodically throughout the loan period.

Light levels for prints, black and white silver gelatin prints, and books must never exceed 100 lux or 10 foot candles. Light levels for manuscripts, textiles (including cloth book covers), colored papers, drawings, watercolors, miniatures, color photographs, 19th-century photographs must never exceed 50 lux or 5 foot candles.

Materials must never be exposed to UV radiation, which includes unfiltered fluorescent illumination and daylight.

Very sensitive materials may require slightly varied or more stringent climate and light conditions that will be stipulated by NYU Special Collections on a case-by-case basis. See Exhibition Environmental Guidelines for more information.

The borrower must guarantee the security of loan materials during transit and at all times while they are within the borrowing institution’s premises and the exhibition gallery. There must be fire and intruder alarms covering the gallery containing loaned objects. The gallery should be fully locked, secured, and intruder/fire alarms set during closed hours. Security guard patrols should be made during closed hours around the gallery. Security guard or custodian presence must be maintained at all times when the exhibition and gallery are open.

Policy Date: 2018