Loans Policy

This policy was reviewed by the Museum of Freemasonry Council on 27th September 2016 and is due to be reviewed no later than September 2021.



1.1 This policy covers the loan of items outgoing from and incoming to the Museum of Freemasonry (MoF). Arrangements for the loan of items by the United Grand Lodge of England to the MoF are separately documented in a Loan Agreement dated 18 November 1997, but this policy does cover the loan of these items to other borrowers. The policy covers single and multiple items for exhibition or deposited on five year renewable loan. It does not apply to outward movements of items for conservation that are covered by an exit form.

1.2 This policy will be reviewed at least every five years. The date at which the policy is next due for review is noted above.



2.1 The MoF makes and receives loans for the following reasons:

  • To make items within its collections remit more widely accessible, both physically and intellectually
  • To further knowledge, understanding and scholarship relating to items in its care
  • To enhance the reputation of the MoF, and its good standing locally, nationally and internationally
  • To increase co-operation with other organisations by the exchange of material

2.2 The MoF will not make any stipulation or request to those to whom it is lending or from whom it is borrowing that it would itself regard as unreasonable if required of it by any institution from whom it was borrowing or lending.

2.3 The procedure by which loans, both in and out, are handled is intended to ensure that the MoF acts in a professional and responsible way: agreeing to loan only appropriate items to appropriate borrowers; minimising all risks and protecting items whilst out of the MoF’s direct control; managing all loan arrangements in a consistent and efficient manner and providing full documentation to support loan activities.

2.4 The Director is responsible for approving all loans, with all outgoing loans also being referred to the Museum of Freemasonry Council for approval, a process for which borrowers should allow time. Responsibility for the day to day administration of loans is delegated to other professional staff, who may seek appropriate specialist advice from relevant curators and conservators. Every request to borrow an item or items is considered on its own merit and the decision to accept or refuse the request is subject to these guidelines.


Outgoing loans

3.1 The users of the MoF expect some key items to be on display and it may be presumed that such items will not normally be lent.

3.2 The MoF will not lend to any exhibition which includes items where there is any suspicion that they may have been stolen, illegally excavated or illegally exported from their country of origin or any intermediate country, in violation of that country’s laws or any national and international treaties, including the 1970 UNESCO Convention.

3.3 The MoF will lend only to properly established organisations and to proper venues, whether run publicly or privately, and usually only to exhibitions that are open to the general public.

3.4 The MoF will not lend to any venue where the item(s) will be at risk from external factors such as poor environmental conditions, inadequate security, food and drink, or smoking.

3.5 The MoF will not normally lend an item that is deemed structurally unstable.

3.6 The MoF reserves the right to request that a professional member of their own staff be present for part or whole of the duration of the loan.

3.7 To secure a loan from the MoF, borrowers will have to demonstrate that the items they have requested form an essential part of their display and that the exhibition itself is coherently thought through.

3.8 The MoF does not profit from loans. However, a borrower may be asked to cover costs incurred by the loan, such as insurance, transport, conservation and the costs incurred by or for the provision of the MoF’s own staff, if required.


Incoming loans

4.1 When borrowing from another institution, the MoF agrees to abide by that institution’s loan conditions.

4.2 The MoF will ensure that all key arrangements are agreed in writing, and that each loan is adequately recorded within the MoF’s collections management systems.

4.3 The condition of all loan material will be checked by a professional member of staff when entering and leaving the MoF. This may include the completion of a written condition report and record photographs.

4.4 From time to time the MoF may borrow items on a longer term basis. Items that may be accepted include any items that the MoF deem will enhance the existing collection, or items that would be best cared for in the MoF. Such items will usually be accepted for a term of five years, with the option of renewal. The lender will be able to withdraw the loan at any time.

4.5 All incoming loan material is subject to the MoF’s loan agreement and the conditions that it sets out.