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National Postal Museum Object Loan Guidelines

Loan applications to the Museum should be made at least six (6) months in advance of the loan start date. More advance notice may be needed due to the complex nature of certain loan requests and the type and number of objects requested.

Prospective borrowers should be aware of the following guidelines when submitting loan requests. Loan applications will be evaluated by curatorial, registration and preservation staff according to the following criteria:

  • Applicable to the mission of the museum

  • Nature of the proposed venue(s) and audience

  • Size and complexity of a proposed loan in relation to competing requests and museum priorities

  • Accessibility and rarity of object(s)

  • Need for conservation, mounts and brackets; exhibition preparation or outside packers/shippers

The Museum must contract for all conservation treatment and mount making as well as fine art packing and shipping. All costs related to the loan will be borne by the Borrower. 

The Museum will make every effort to assist borrowers in meeting loan requirements. Borrowers should contact the appropriate Curatorial Department staff member prior to the loan application for assistance in identification or selection of objects. For curatorial assistance (philatelic) call 202.633.4737 or send an e-mail request to For curatorial assistance (non-philatelic) call 202.633.5526, or send an e-mail request to

The loan application should be sent to the Loan Coordinator and should include the following information. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

  • Name, address and telephone number of borrowing institution and contact person for loan

  • Purpose (e.g., exhibit, title, and dates of exhibition; include exhibit outline if applicable)

  • Location of object on loan

  • Loan period (allowing time for exhibit preparation and loan return)

  • Specific listing by accession number of the objects being requested

  • Completed AAM General Facilities Report

  • for your museum and if applicable a list of additional venues. Facility reports for each additional venue will be required.

  • Plan of gallery where loan will be displayed and a description of exhibit cases and gallery lighting

Photography is allowed for creation of the public catalog, publicity and condition documentation only. No commercial use can be made by the Borrower or viewing public. Requests for electronic use must be made separately. Requests for NPM photographs of objects for catalog and publicity purposes must be made as far in advance as possible.

The National Postal Museum is committed to making its collections available to the public through the loan of objects to museums and non-profit institutions for public display. Please contact the museum's loan coordinator for specific questions related to the loan process.

Loan Coordinator: Patricia A. Raynor
Phone: 202.633.5514

Mailing Address:
Smithsonian Institution
National Postal Museum, MRC 570
P.O. Box 37012
Washington, DC 20013-7012