White and gold purse from the Sutton Hoo burial.

How to borrow British Museum objects

Contact us

Incidents or emergencies

In case of incidents involving loaned objects, please contact your Loans Coordinator or the Control Room immediately.

Phone: +44 (0)20 7323 8210

The British Museum believes in making its collections widely available.

The Museum lends thousands of objects each year, contributing to hundreds of different exhibitions and displays at venues in the UK and around the world.

The British Museum welcomes requests to lend items from the collection to exhibitions or displays that are open to the general public and contribute to knowledge and understanding of their subject.

The Loans Policy provides further information on broad principles governing loans from the collection.

Making your request

How loans are agreed

A loan request will be reviewed and a decision will be made based upon advice from the curatorial and conservation departments.

Key considerations:

  • Relevance of the requested object(s) to the exhibition/display
  • Object(s) availability
  • Object(s) suitability for travel and display
  • Administrative and technical work involved, in the context of the Museum's existing programme of activity

Prospective borrowers should receive a response within three months of the formal request being submitted.

Security and facilities documentation

Before the loan agreement is signed, the borrower will be asked to complete Standard Facilities Reports which will provide essential information connected with venue, access, security, environmental and display conditions.

Security information will be forwarded to the UK National Museums Security Adviser who'll be asked to give an independent assessment of the security arrangements at the prospective borrowing venue(s). Preferably the facilities report completed by the borrower should be the UK Registrars Group Facilities Report, with the Security Supplement and Display Supplement (please note that a UK Registrars Group membership is required to access these documents).

Once the loan is agreed, the British Museum will provide details of specific security, environmental and mounting requirements for each object being borrowed. Photography for catalogue and other purchases can be arranged with the Museum's Picture Library, BM Images.

Loan costs

The British Museum expects borrowers to cover all direct costs connected with the loan, such as:

  • Transportation and courier costs
  • Crating and packing materials
  • Insurance or cover through a national indemnity scheme
  • Condition photography

International borrowers may also be asked to contribute to the costs of preparing the items for loan, including administration, technical and essential conservation work.