Incoming Loan Policy

The Spurlock Museum borrows objects from private or institutional collections in order to enhance the Museum’s ability to fulfill its mission and goals.

There are two types of incoming loans:

  • Exhibit loans (either selected objects for use in exhibits or complete traveling exhibits)
  • Future gifts (objects retained as a loan until accessioned as a gift)

Responsibilities for Handling Incoming Loans

The Director is ultimately responsible for all incoming loans.

The Registrar is the primary staff responsible for working with lenders in negotiating incoming loans, for presenting incoming loan requests to the Acquisition Committee, and for implementing all incoming loan agreement-related decisions.

The Exhibits Committee is responsible for identifying and approving loans for exhibition purposes. Exhibit Committee members may initiate contact with individuals or institutions for loans during the planning stages of a project.

The Acquisition Committee is responsible for reviewing and approving incoming loans for future gifting based on an assessment of the criteria for acquisitions and the incoming loan criteria.

Related Policy:

Acquisitions Policy

Incoming Loan Procedure

1. Initiating an Incoming Loan

The Registrar must be notified as far in advance as possible with the following information:

  • name and contact information of Lender
  • purpose of loan
  • description of incoming objects or, if a traveling exhibition, theme or focus of loan
  • loan start and end dates
  • exhibition title, if appropriate
  • anticipated delivery or shipping dates
  • detailed shipping and transportation arrangements
  • anticipated costs including loan and shipping fees
  • value of each loaned object for insurance purposes
  • preferred credit line
  • stipulations beyond those covered in the conditions in the Incoming Loan Agreement or other written agreement

2. Internal Approval

All incoming loan approvals will be based on the following criteria:

  1. value in promoting and supporting the objectives and purposes of the Spurlock Museum as set forth in the Museum’s mission statement
  2. clearly defined purpose (either for exhibit or a loan to become a future gift to the Museum)
  3. warrantee of title
  4. potential issues of cultural sensitivity inherent in the use of the objects by the Museum
  5. physical condition and size of the objects and any associated potential risks
  6. potential for health risks or other hazards (for staff, visitors, the Museum building and grounds, or Museum collections) that are beyond the ability of staff and facilities to manage
  7. availability of Spurlock Museum’s financial resources, staff, time, and other resources to implement the loan
  8. agreement on all shipping and transportation arrangements and payment
  9. agreement on provisions for insurance during the period of the loan
  10. agreement on length of loan not to exceed two years (loans are renewable)
  11. potential for conflict between the University’s status as a not-for-profit institution and the Lender’s potential commercial interests
  12. potential copyright issues in the use of the objects by the Museum

Additional Criteria

Exhibit Loans

The Registrar is responsible for working with the Exhibit Committee, Curator, Director, and Lender to finalize arrangements and agreements that are satisfactory to all parties. Exhibit loans are approved based on the following additional criteria:

  • ability to enhance or fill a gap within a specified exhibit or program that cannot be accomplished as effectively using the Museum’s own collections
  • value of the potential educational impact

Future Gifts

According to the Acquisitions Policy, the Registrar presents the donation offer to the Acquisition Committee for review. Additionally, once approved by that committee, the future gift must also meet the incoming loan criteria above. Future gifts are maintained as a loan until accessioned as a gift.

3. Written Agreement

A formal written agreement among the Lender, the Museum, and the University is required before the objects arrive at the Museum. This agreement can be one of following:

  • The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is most commonly used for loans between campus units.
  • The Simple Incoming Loan Agreement Form is used for loans with no monetary obligations such as insurance, loan fees, etc.
  • The Complex Incoming Loan Agreement Form is used if the objects loaned are to be insured or if there are any other financial obligations involved in the contract.

The Lender may submit its own form for use. In this situation, the Registrar, Director, University Contracts, Office of University Counsel, and (if funds are involved) University Purchasing must review and approve all conditions prior to signing. The Registrar will bring any changes that significantly impact loan implementation to the appropriate staff as needed and will obtain in writing the approval of changes by the Lender, Collections Manager, and Director.

Once a form is selected and the language is approved, the Registrar collects the signature of the Lender and the Director and submits the agreement to the University Contracts system. When the agreement is fully executed in the University Contracts system, one copy of the agreement is forwarded to the Lender and one copy is retained by the Museum in the incoming loan files.


If extenuating circumstances do not allow for the completion of a formal written agreement prior to receipt of the objects, and if the Registrar accepts the reason for these circumstances, then the following steps are taken:

  1. A Record of Receipt Form is completed immediately upon receipt of the object (see Receipt of Objects Policy)
  2. The Lender is informed of the lack of insurance coverage and associated potential risks. 
In some situations the Registrar may contact the University Office of Risk Management to request special arrangements for immediate insurance coverage. Insurance cannot be promised to a Lender unless the University Office of Risk Management staff has verified coverage.
  3. A formal written agreement is completed as soon as possible

Related Policy:

Receipt of Objects Policy

4. Insurance

Before a formal written agreement is completed, the Registrar contacts the University Office of Risk Management to initiate insurance coverage. If the Lender requests a Certificate of Insurance, the Registrar will inform the University Office of Risk Management, and a certificate will be provided; see also Insurance of Collections and Loans Policy.

5. Implementation

The Registrar is responsible for:

  • serving as the point of contact,
  • managing the incoming loan,
  • ensuring that agreement conditions are met, and
  • initiating renewals of loaned objects as needed.

The Collections Manager is responsible for:

  • overseeing and advising on shipping and packing of the loaned objects,
  • creating condition reports, and
  • fulfilling requirements regarding care, handling, and mounting of objects.

6. Completion

Future gifts that are declined by the Acquisition Committee will be promptly returned to the potential donor.

Exhibition loans will be returned promptly at the end of exhibition use.

If the objects are returned to the Lender via physical delivery by Museum staff, a Return Record of Receipt Form is completed upon delivery. If the objects are returned via shipper, the Lender is required to notify the Registrar as soon as possible upon receipt of the objects, not more than 30 days after the objects are received. 
The Registrar will ensure that the loan agreement, correspondence, condition reports, and all other documentation relating to the loan are permanently preserved in the incoming loan files and will update the appropriate database records.

If a loan cannot be returned within the established dates, a temporary extension may be requested. If, after several attempts to contact the Lender, the object is not retrieved, then the object will be considered an abandoned loan and handled according to the Abandoned Property and Unclaimed Loans Policy.

Approved 5/23/2016.