Skip to Main Content
Bookmark and Share

National Postal Museum Object Loan Policy

Railway Post Office car
Railway Post Office car on loan to the North Carolina Transportation Museum, Spencer, NC

Collection objects are loaned for exhibition to qualified non-profit educational institutions. Under special circumstances objects may be loaned to institutions for traveling exhibits or scholarly study. The following information is provided to assist borrowing institutions when initiating loan requests: 


Apply in writing tothe Loan Coordinator at least 6 months in advance of the loan start date. Specify the objects, purpose and requested loan dates. Include the exhibit outline/gallery layout (if applicable) and a copy of the AAM Facilities Report along with the request. Submit requests for electronic use of photographs separately.

Length of Loan

Loans are granted for periods of up to three (3) years and may be renewed at the discretion of the museum. Certain objects may only be lent for shorter periods of time. The Museum reserves the right to recall loaned objects on short notice if necessary. 

Loan Approval

Requests are reviewed by the Museum's Loan Coordinator, Conservator, Curatorial staff and by the Registrar for approval. Loans made to traveling exhibitions require special review and approval. Borrowers must follow the Museum's Guidelines for Outgoing Loans. 

Loan Agreement

The Borrower will be sent the Museum's Agreement for Outgoing Loan form to be completed and signed prior to final loan approval.

Borrower Responsibility

  • Absorb all costs incurred by the loan (e.g. transportation, packing, insurance, and preparation of the object(s) for travel and exhibition) 

  • Wall-to-wall, all risk fine arts insurance must be carried for the duration of the loan. The Museum will insure objects under its comprehensive, all-risk policy and the premium will be billed to the Borrower. 

  • Comply with the Museum's environmental, security, handling and exhibition requirements. Requirements include 24-hour physical and/or electronic security, a fireproof building and protection from damage, mishandling, fire, water, insects, vermin, dirt and extremes of light, temperature and humidity. The Museum will advise the Borrower of specifications for environmental and security control as well as installation and handling requirements. 

  • Comply with the Museum's packing and transportation specifications 

  • Objects will be transported to and from the Borrower by means acceptable to the Museum. Instructions provided for unpacking and repacking the objects must be followed by the Borrower. In certain situations, packing and transportation must be contracted to a private company at the expense of the Borrower. 

  • Comply with the Museum's standards regarding photography of the Museum objects and credit. 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. Any additional use of images must be negotiated separately. Credit must be given to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum.

Loan Renewals

Request an extension in writing at least 3 months in advance of the loan expiration date. Apply in writing to the Loan Coordinator. Borrowers may be asked for annual condition reports on the object(s) loaned.


Loan Coordinator: Patricia A. Raynor
Phone: 202.633.5514
Fax: 202.633.9393

Mail Address

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