Exhibition Loans

In alignment with the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts’ mission to advance learning and inspire discovery in the Penn's community and around the world, we consider loan requests from institutions with established exhibition programs and with professional staff proficient in handling and exhibiting the items safely.

Miscellaneous manuscripts, 1345. Misc Mss Box 6 Folder 23. Horace Howard Furness Memorial Fund.
Miscellaneous manuscripts, 1345. Misc Mss Box 6 Folder 23. Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Loan Request Policy

In order to begin the loan process, the Kislak Center must receive a formal letter of request to borrow items from the collections. This letter should be addressed to the Director of the Kislak Center and copied to the registrar who will be responsible for processing it for approval by the necessary departments.

Formal letters of request should be submitted a minimum of 12 months prior to the shipment of the loan for domestic loans, and a minimum of 18 months prior for international loans. This advance notice is necessary to ensure adequate time for condition assessments, conservation preparation, and processing of the loan request. Insufficient notice may be cause for refusal of the loan. The standard length of loan is typically no longer than six months from the date the item(s) leaves to the date the item(s) returns to the Kislak Center.

The borrower must provide a standard American Alliance of Museums (AAM) General Facility Report for the exhibition venue with the loan request. A separate facility report for each venue is required for traveling exhibition requests.

Loan requests will be evaluated based on the following criteria: physical condition of the item(s); facilities of the borrowing institution; anticipated need of the item(s) for Penn Libraries’ purposes; timing and duration of the loan; the timeliness of the request; and alignment with the values, mission and goals of the Kislak Center and the University of Pennsylvania.

Once approved in principle, a loan agreement form must be completed and signed before the beginning of the loan period.

The Kislak Center charges a standard loan fee of $100 per item. The loan fee covers time spent assessing and preparing object(s) for exhibition. The borrower is responsible for all additional costs associated with the loan, such as, but not limited to, photographic reproductions, additional conservation work, packing, transportation, and insurance.

The borrower will insure the requested item(s) at the borrower’s expense under an all-risk “wall to wall” policy, subject to the standard exclusions of fine arts commercial insurance. The borrower will provide a certificate of insurance from an established carrier in advance of shipment.

The formal loan request should include the following information:

  • Title of the exhibition and a brief description of its purpose and scope
  • Exhibition dates and proposed loan dates
  • Name(s) and affiliation of exhibition curator(s)
  • Detailed information about the item(s) to be borrowed, including full citation and call number for printed materials and collection name, box and folder number for manuscript materials
  • Display information (page openings for volumes; for multi-paged manuscripts, an exact description of what is to be displayed)
    Case dimensions, if known
  • Plans for a published or online catalog of the exhibition; photography or scanning needs
  • Statement of borrower’s willingness to insure the requested item(s) at the borrower’s expense under an all-risk, “wall to wall” policy
  • Statement of borrower’s willingness to pay associated costs of the loan, such as packing and transportation
  • An American Alliance of Museums (AAM) General Facility Report for the exhibition venue(s)

The formal request letter should be addressed to:

Sean Quimby, Associate University Librarian & Director of the Jay I. Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts 
Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts 
Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center 
University of Pennsylvania Libraries 
3420 Walnut Street 
Philadelphia, PA. 19104

Abby Lang, Registrar and Collections and Metadata Management Coordinator
Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts 
Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center 
University of Pennsylvania Libraries 
3420 Walnut Street 
Philadelphia, PA. 19104 
Telephone: 215-746-0521

Questions and initial inquiries about potential loans should be made to the registrar of the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Abby Lang, at abila@upenn.edu.