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The Library of Congress, 1998

The Library of Congress, 1998 from Oliphant's Anthem: Pat Oliphant at the Library of Congress

Library of Congress Exhibition Loan Procedures

The collections of the Library of Congress include millions of items, including books, but also include presidential papers, sound recordings, maps, motion pictures, photographs, and engravings, to name a few.  These materials cover virtually every subject and every era, and can help to bring new dimension and authenticity to any exhibition.  In order to provide access to its collections, the Library makes available many of these objects to recognized institutions and exhibition agencies, such as libraries and museums, which have established exhibition programs, an acceptable physical environment, and a full–time professional staff proficient in handling the particular material requested.   Each request for loan will be judged on its particular merits—the type of institution, the program, and the exhibition for which the loan is proposed in relation to the importance, stability, uniqueness, and value (both monetary and intrinsic) of the material being requested.

Submission of Loan Request

To request a specific item or items from the collections, a potential borrower must contact the Interpretive Programs Office of the Library a minimum of six months in advance of the exhibition opening.  The number of objects to be requested is not limited; however, the Library’s portion cannot exceed 49 percent of the total number of objects in the exhibition.

There is no loan fee to borrow from the Library.  However, the Borrower will be responsible for all direct costs for record photography, mount preparation, packing, crating, shipping, insurance, and any possible courier costs. 

Additionally, the Library requires that any loaned objects be insured at the expense of the borrower in the amount specified and under policy terms and conditions contained in Fine Arts Floater Policies and under special conditions required by the Library, as well as the Library’s “Replacement in Kind” clause, which states that the Library shall have the right to elect to receive reimbursement in kind, in case of total loss or damage of any item covered by this insurance. 

The formal written request must include the following information:

  • Information about the proposed exhibition, to include its purpose and the exact dates of exhibition
  • If there is more than one venue proposed, the opening and closing dates at each venue are required
  • Location of exhibition, including all venues if traveling
  • Institutional Facilities Report, if not already on file, for venue(s) (AAM version preferred)
  • Borrower’s point of contact, with address, telephone number, fax number
  • Provisions for providing packing, shipping and insurance
  • Title of each item required, to include call/catalog numbers
  • Library custodial division for each object (i.e., Rare Books and Special Collections, Prints and Photographs, Music, etc.)
  • Page openings for any volumes
  • For multi–paged manuscripts, an exact description of what is to be displayed (which side of page, etc.)

Send the above information to: 

Interpretive Programs Office
Library of Congress
Washington, DC  20540–4950
(202)707–1917, (202)707–3609
(202)707–9063 fax

You may also e-mail the information to Tambra Johnson at tjoh@loc.gov or Rachel Waldron at rwal@loc.gov.