Borrowing from us

Borrowing from Leeds Museums and Galleries

Leeds Museums and Galleries’ hold over a million objects representing collections covering Archaeology, Decorative and Fine Arts, Dress and Textiles, Natural Sciences, Numismatics, Social and Industrial History and World Cultures. Leeds Museums and Galleries encourage lending from our collections in order to make our fantastic resources available to a wider audience.

We try to support as many requests as possible within the resources we have available, balancing the number of loans we can support with our own public programme and essential collections care activity

Why do Leeds Museums and Galleries loan objects out?

  • To widen access to our collections and facilitate outreach
  • To contribute to a wider understanding of art, history and science
  • To support research into our collections
  • To support other museums and develop partnerships

Who do we lend to?

  • Accredited/Registered museums and galleries
  • Libraries and Archives
  • Educational Institutions
  • Public and charitable bodies and community organisations
  • Bona Fide individuals for research and study, via a related institution

All borrowers need to demonstrate they can provide and maintain suitable facilities and appropriate conditions.

How do I request to borrow an item?

Exhibition loans

Requests to borrow an item should be addressed to the Head of Leeds Museums and Galleries, and include as much of the following information as possible:

  • Information about the exhibition, other items being displayed and how the item fits into the exhibition.
  • Accession number, object or artist’s name and title
  • Information on the venue(s), including UKRG facilities and security reports as well as environmental data from the corresponding time of year.
  • Objects should be formally requested at least six months in advance; for an international exhibition, requests should be made nine months in advance and where a large number of objects, or objects which require significant conservation or similar loan preparation are requested, this should be done at least 1 year in advance.

Informal discussions are welcomed before a formal request is made (please note this does not constitute a formal loan request).

Research Loans

Leeds Museums and Galleries are happy to consider requests for loans for research.  Requests to borrow should be addressed to the Head of Leeds Museums and Galleries and include the following information:

  • A detailed description of their project and how a study of items will contribute to their research.
  • If possible, accession number, object or artist’s name and title

References will be required from individuals wishing to borrow material and Leeds Museums and Galleries would prefer to lend to institutions convenient for individuals to visit rather than private addresses (e.g. a nearby University or accredited museum).

Loans for research purposes can often be made at shorter notice than for exhibitions, but at least two months’ notice is required for all loans.

What happens after I request an item?

Our Registrars department will acknowledge your request within 3 weeks, and request any additional information needed. Once all information is received, the formal loan request will be discussed at the next available Collections Development Meeting. We will endeavour to make a decision to either lend or refuse within 8 weeks.

Why would my loan request be refused?

We try to support as many loans as we can with the resources we have available, also taking into account LMG’s public programme and core collections care responsibilities. We refuse loans from time to time; this may be for one of the following reasons:

  • When suitable environmental and / or security cannot be provided
  • There is insufficient time to consider and prepare the loan.
  • If the object is fragile, or unstable or at excessive risk of damage from handling or transit
  • If the object is required by LMG for display, learning or outreach
  • If the object has been lent frequently
  • If the object is in demand from LMG visitors
  • If the request is for use as props in theatre, film or TV production
  • If excessive cost would be involved in moving the object

If we refuse a loan on the basis of environment or display issues, we will work with the borrower to overcome these issues. Where an artwork/object is already scheduled for display or loan, we will endeavour to offer an alternative.

Are there any costs involved?

We do not have a standard borrowing fee for UK Institutional loans. However, we do charge an administration fee for international or commercial borrowers. These charges are reviewed annually.

  • 1-4 objects: £750 per venue
  • 5-8 objects: £1200 per venue
  • 9+ objects: by negotiation

We try to keep costs to a minimum, and operate sustainably, (both financially and environmentally), however the borrower is responsible for all costs relating to the loan, including:

  • Insurance
  • Framing / Glazing
  • Display requirements, such as plinths and hood for objects
  • Transport, including courier expenses if required.

Other costs such as packing, crating, couriers, condition checking/reporting and conservation will be identified at the time of the formal agreement of the loan.

Staff time to facilitate a loan may be recharged where the loan includes more than nine objects, particularly where the loan will make up a significant proportion of an exhibition. This includes, but is not limited to registrar, conservation, curatorial and technical time.

If a borrower cancels a loan at a late stage, we reserve the right to pass on any costs already incurred.

Primary Membership Scheme

Access real museum artefacts to use in your classrooms and take part in workshops from our nine museums and galleries. Receive support with curriculum planning, teacher training and local resources.

Our Primary School Membership scheme includes all you need to increase access to object based and cultural capital rich learning. There are three membership packages: Bronze, Silver and Gold.

The three packages have been developed in consultation with primary teachers in the city, piloted in Leeds schools, and are based on the services we know people use, or would like to, across Leeds Museums and Galleries and the city.

Find out more about our Primary Membership Scheme.


For informal discussion prior to submitting a formal request, please contact:

[email protected]

Registrar and Collections Manager

Formal loan requests should be addressed to the Head of Service and the Registrar should be cc-ed:

David Hopes

Head of Leeds Museums and Galleries

Leeds Museum Discovery Centre

Carlisle Road


LS10 1LB

[email protected]