Alexander Architectural Archives Lending Guidelines for Exhibition Loans

Mission Statement

The mission of The University of Texas at Austin is to achieve excellence in the interrelated areas of undergraduate education, graduate education, research and public service. The university provides superior and comprehensive educational opportunities at the baccalaureate through doctoral and special professional educational levels.

The university contributes to the advancement of society through research, creative activity, scholarly inquiry and the development and dissemination of new knowledge, including the commercialization of University discoveries. The university preserves and promotes the arts, benefits the state’s economy, serves citizens through public programs and provides other public service.

The University of Texas Libraries recognizes that our collections contribute to research and intellectual exchange, and that exhibitions are one way to reach a broader audience. Our policy is to lend material for exhibitions committed to a common educational and scholarly mission.

As steward, we are also committed to the preservation and care of our collections. We lend material to institutions capable of demonstrating safe and secure exhibitions. Our decision to lend depends upon several factors, including the condition and value of the object, its current scholarly demand for ongoing research, and the facilities and expertise of the borrowing institution.

Exhibition Loan Approval Overview

  1. To initiate an exhibition loan, you will need to send a formal letter of request to our Libraries Director. Please see the sections below regarding deadlines, preparation of your letter and specific conditions of the loan. Your request is time sensitive and must be received at least six months prior to shipment. Large or complicated requests require a longer advance notice.
  2. When a loan request has been received, we will assign a coordinator to assist you throughout the exhibition loan process and serve as your primary contact. Your coordinator will first confirm if your exhibition dates align with our available schedules and deadlines.
  3. If the loan can be scheduled, you will be asked to submit an American Association of Museums Standard Facilities Report form or provide the equivalent information. To help expedite the process, you can send this report along with your loan request letter. If your facility meets Libraries' requirements, your loan request will proceed to item assessment.
  4. An in-house assessment requires curatorial and conservation staff to review the loan request, current academic demand and the physical condition of the works requested. Your coordinator will provide our standard loan conditions and communicating any additional determined requirements such as handling, display mounting, conservation work, etc.
  5. As part of the loan, you will be asked to provide a certificate of insurance prior to shipment. Your coordinator will determine insurance values.
  6. Questions regarding final details, conditions and your related costs must be reviewed and agreed upon for preparation of the Loan Agreement. We will provide the Loan Agreement for your Director’s signature. Once received back, our Director will sign and copies will be distributed.
  7. We must have a fully signed loan agreement, certificate of insurance, and proof that all related costs are paid prior to shipment.


All formal loan requests must be received at a minimum of six months in advance of desired shipment (for loans leaving the United States, a minimum of one year). Requests, regardless of nature, made less than 90 days in advance of the exhibition date will not be considered.

This lead-time is necessary for our staff to schedule adequate time to coordinate and conduct condition assessments, conservation preparation, photo documentation and processing of the loan request. Insufficient lead-time may be cause for refusal of the loan. Large or complicated loan requests will require a longer advance notice.

Formal loan request

A Formal Loan Request to borrow materials from the University of Texas Libraries must be made in the form of a written request. The request for the loan must be received on your formal letterhead and signed by your Director as the borrowing institution. Please supply the following information in your loan request:

  • Description of the purpose and scope of your exhibition and why the requested works are integral to the exhibition thesis
  • Exhibition title and the name and credentials of your curator(s)
  • Approximate total number of works in the exhibition
  • Exhibition venue(s) and dates
  • Loan dates (approximate date of shipment; approximate date of return)
  • Name, address, telephone and email of your exhibition organizer
  • Name, address, telephone and email for the primary contact person of each venue
  • Full description of each item requested
  • Indication of accompanying published catalogues both in print or on the web
  • Assurance that all costs (fees, packing, shipping, courier, insurance, etc.) will be paid by you in advance of shipment of loan
  • Indication, through the signature of the Agreement to Conditions for Exhibition Loans form, of your willingness to conform to our conditions with the understanding that after further assessment, additional conditions may be required to ensure a safe and secure loan
  • To expedite your loan request, you may also include a copy of the American Association of Museums Standard Facility Report or equivalent documentation describing your exhibition program and facilities. For traveling exhibitions, a separate report must be submitted for each venue on the schedule. An incomplete facilities report may delay the processing of, or cause a refusal of the loan request.

Loan Agreement- your responsibilities as borrower

Provided the works requested are suitable for loan, Libraries staff will prepare a formal loan agreement setting out your responsibilities as loan borrower. Loan conditions are based upon museum standards and are strict in meeting the requirements of the University of Texas Libraries and The University of Texas Office of Risk Management, which ultimately accepts the risk of loss or damage to the collection. Your signatory, on behalf of the borrower, must be of appropriate institutional authority to sign the University of Texas Libraries' loan agreement. The loan agreement may not be altered without approval of both parties.

Upon receipt of the formal loan request, Libraries staff will review the request and facility report. Requested item(s) will be examined by a conservator and a condition assessment will be recorded. You will be notified of the loan decision and any result of the appraisal that may involve additional conditions and costs. This review process requires time to determine a decision to loan or to suggest alternative options. Requests of multiple items may take additional time.

Costs covered by the borrower

  • All transportation costs, including fine arts level packing and crating, freight, customs charges
  • Courier travel expenses (if required) include Business Class accommodations when accompanying loans, as well as appropriate lodging (at least 2 nights for international trips) and per diem subsistence. Per diem guidelines for loans within the United States follow the Meals and Incidental Expenses (M&IE) guidelines as set by the U.S. General Services Administration. Per diem guidelines for international loans follow the M&IE guidelines as set by the U.S. Department of State.
  • Any loan-specific conservation preparation
  • Design-specific matting, framing, or display equipment. In-stock frames will be used unless the borrower makes arrangements in advance to supply custom framing.
  • Insurance coverage of the loan material; a copy of the certificate of insurance must be provided prior to shipment of the loan.
  • Any photography necessary for the loan, including digitization for exhibition publications or publicity materials. All digitization will be conducted by University of Texas Libraries prior to the loan, and is subject to a per image fee.

An invoice will be sent for loan fees along with the loan agreement. Payment is due prior to shipment. The works will not be released to the shipping company unless payment has been received.

Conditions of loan

University of Texas Libraries expects the borrowing institution to adhere to accepted professional standards at all stages of the exhibition process, including such matters as security, installation methods, and maintenance of proper environmental controls at all times. The borrowing institution may be required to provide information pertaining to accreditation and governance, policies concerning public access to exhibitions, and compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

If the conditions outlined below cannot be maintained throughout the exhibition, the borrower must notify University of Texas Libraries promptly to discuss appropriate next steps.

Damage or loss/ Preservation standards

  • If damage or loss is discovered, The University of Texas Libraries is to be notified immediately, followed by a full written report, including photographic documentation.
  • No work may be altered, cleaned, or repaired without prior written permission.
  • The work must be maintained in a building equipped to protect the work from fire, smoke, or flood damage; under 24-hour physical and/or electronic security; and protected from humidity and temperature extremes, excessive light, and from insects, vermin, dirt, or other environmental hazards.
  • Works borrowed shall be given special care at all times to insure against loss, damage, or deterioration. The borrower will exercise the same care with respect to the work as they do in the safekeeping of their own works. The University of Texas Libraries, certifies that the works lent are in condition to withstand the ordinary strains of handling, packing, and transportation.
  • The Libraries will provide condition reports for each of the works lent. Upon receipt and prior to return to of the works, the borrower must also provide a written record of condition.
  • Light levels are restricted and determined on a case-by case basis. Levels specific to the materials to be loaned will be noted on the Loan Agreement.
  • Relative humidity must be maintained at 50% ± 5% and temperature at 70º F ± 4º F
  • Objects must be handled only by experienced personnel and be secured from damage and theft by appropriate brackets, railings, display cases, or other responsible methods
  • The borrower agrees to any special requirements for installation and handling stipulated by the Libraries. Furthermore, the Libraries may require an inspection and approval of the actual installation by a member of its staff as a condition of the loan, and at the expense of the borrower.
  • The borrower will not allow the storage, serving, or consumption of food and/or beverages in the spaces where the works are stored

Loan duration

Loans approved for traveling exhibitions will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Paper items, when approved, are generally limited to six months total exhibition time, or less, as determined by conservation recommendation on an item-by-items basis.


  • The borrower will arrange for a specialized fine art shipper to transport the work from Austin, Texas to the borrower's venue and return
  • If a courier is a requirement of loan, all movement of the courier and the loan must be expedited by a specialized fine arts shipper
  • All arrangements must meet the approval of the University of Texas Libraries. Shippers and brokers may only be used with the Libraries' approval. Failure to use an approved broker or shipper may result in the cancellation of the loan.
  • The borrower will keep the crates and packing materials for return shipment, and the work will be repacked using the same protective methods and materials
  • Packing crates will be stored under appropriate environmental conditions to ensure that the crate interiors are in equilibrium (not greater than 50% RH) prior to repacking
  • Unless otherwise specified in writing by the Libraries, all works will be released from the collection/holding unit of The University of Texas Libraries

Fine Arts Commercial Insurance

  • The borrower will insure the work (s) at the borrower's expense for the aggregate value stated on the Libraries' loan agreement under an all risk, "wall to wall" policy with no deductibles; subject to the standard exclusions of fine arts commercial insurance
  • Borrowers for international venues are required to purchase insurance coverage through the underwriters of The University of Texas at Austin
  • The University of Texas Libraries must be supplied with a certificate of insurance from a well-established carrier specializing in fine arts commercial insurance naming the University of Texas Libraries as insured under the borrower's policy prior to the shipment of the loan. Failure to provide a certificate of insurance from an established carrier in advance of shipment will result in the cancellation of the loan.
  • The University of Texas Libraries must be notified in writing at least thirty (30) days prior to any cancellation or meaningful change in the borrower's policy. Any lapses in coverage, any failure to secure insurance and/or inaction by the University of Texas Libraries will not release the borrower from liability for loss or damage. 

Insurance Valuations

Insurance valuation for works will be supplied by the University of Texas Libraries after a formal loan request has been made and prior to approval of the loan. The University of Texas Libraries reserves the right to re-value any of the works at any time, to take into account changes in the market value of the works. If necessary, an appraisal may be needed to determine a current market valuation. This cost will be the responsibility of the borrower.

Packing and Transportation

University of Texas Libraries prepares the items going out on loan, and will require that all items be repacked for return in exactly the same manner as when they were sent to the borrower institution. For most items, packing may need to be conducted by a fine arts handler engaged by the borrower. Fine art handlers must be vetted and approved by the Libraries. Any changes in repacking should be discussed in advance between borrower and the Libraries.

University of Texas Libraries will specify how the material is to be transported and will ask the borrower to make appropriate transportation arrangements. An approved fine art mover is usually required for transport of University of Texas Libraries property. Full details of transportation should be discussed as early in the procedure as possible. In some instances, University of Texas Libraries may require that items be accompanied to and from loan site by a courier. The courier's presence will be required at all times during the transport, unpacking, installation, de-installation, and repacking of the borrowed material.


It is the policy of the University of Texas Libraries to consider requiring a courier to accompany a shipment when the value of the shipment is high and/or the works are of a fragile or unique nature and/or the works require specialized handling or mounting. International loans generally require a courier.

Condition examination and installation/de-installation

When the material is received, the borrower should inspect it upon unpacking, compare it with the condition report provided by the Libraries, and record its condition. Any damage or discrepancies must be reported immediately by telephone and subsequently in writing to the Libraries. The inspection and condition reporting process should be repeated at each venue for traveling exhibitions.

  • The borrower agrees that upon arrival at its venue, the works will remain in their crates and be allowed to acclimatize for a minimum of 24 hours
  • The borrower agrees that the works will be examined only in the presence of the Libraries' courier (where required), or the borrower's registration or conservation staff, using and annotating the condition report (s) provided by the Libraries
  • The borrower agrees that only experienced art-handling/preparation staff will install the works. Installation will only take place under the supervisions of the Libraries' courier (where required), or the borrower's registration or conservation staff. If the borrower employs a commercial packing firm, the borrower's trained registration, conservation, or curatorial staff must supervise that firm's employees.
  • The borrower agrees that installation will not take place while areas of the exhibition spaces are under construction. Prior to installation of the works, seventy two hours must be allowed to pass after any painting (e.g. walls, cases) or rug shampooing in the exhibition area has taken place to ensure that hazardous fumes do not affect the works.
  • The Libraries' works are shipped "wall or case ready" for mounting and display. The method of preparing materials for exhibition will be determined by Libraries staff and outlined for the borrower prior to final loan approval.
  • The borrower agrees that only experienced art-handling/preparation staff will de-install the works
  • As a requirement of the loan, works should only be de-installed, condition checked, and packed in the presence of the Libraries' courier (where required), or the borrower's registration or conservation staff. Condition reports must accompany the works.

Cancellation of loans and Right of recall

The University of Texas Libraries recognizes that a borrower may cancel a loan, or other circumstances may prevent the shipment and exhibition from taking place as planned. Once remitted, loan related fees are non-refundable regardless of circumstance.

The University of Texas Libraries reserves the right to recall an item at any time if the terms of the loan are not met for the duration loan period.

Reproduction and credit

  • Permission for reproduction, including electronic formats, must be obtained in writing from the Libraries. Permission must also be obtained from the copyright holder, if any. No other reproduction of works lent can be made without written permission from the Libraries and the copyright holder.
  • In order to assure safe accurate reproduction of University of Texas Libraries property, the Libraries will prepare digital images of the works lent. These images may be used by the borrower for exhibition catalogs, routine non-commercial educational uses, and publicity and are subject to the Libraries' usual publication policies and digitization fees.
  • As owner of unique and valuable cultural artifacts, University of Texas Libraries requires that surrogates of these objects reproduce the qualities of the original items as accurately as possible. Reproductions of items may not be altered by cropping, colorizing, reversing, bleeding, overprinting, digital editing, or any other method without prior permission.
  • Items must appear as an illustration to text. Any decorative use of the image - as background, endpapers, or other uses requires the express written consent of the Libraries.
  • Each work must be labeled and credited to the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas of Austin in the exact format provided on the loan agreement, both for display labels and publication credits
  • The borrower is required to provide two copies of the exhibition catalogue and any exhibition related print materials to the Libraries
  • Digitization and publication use questions can be answered by the Libraries' contact

International loans

Loans to countries outside the United States will require the assistance of a reputable customs broker who should be contracted well in advance of the loan arrival date. Customs formalities and the provision of export licenses to and from the exhibition site, are the responsibility of the borrower. Objects should not be unpacked in transit for customs inspection, but passed through in bond to the exhibition site. It is the international borrower's responsibility to meet any courier upon arrival, to have a customs broker on hand, and to escort the courier and the loaned items to and from the exhibition site. Overseas loans must be transported by air.


The Libraries assumes no responsibility for delays in shipping caused by circumstances beyond its control, including, but not limited to incomplete payment, absence of required documents, extreme weather conditions, terrorist attacks, or labor disputes.