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Object Loans and Registrars

The Fitzwilliam Museum is the principal museum of the University of Cambridge and preserves, researches and provides access to collections of paintings, works on paper, applied and decorative arts, coins and medals, books, manuscripts and antiquities.

The Fitzwilliam has a long history of lending objects to cultural institutions in the UK and across the globe. Loaning objects from the collection plays an important role in the Museum’s mission to maximise access to culture for all, to further research.

The Fitzwilliam welcomes loan requests from the collection to exhibitions or displays that are open to the general public and contribute to knowledge and understanding of their subject.

The Museum loans policy provides further information.

How to borrow an object

Prospective borrowers are encouraged to carry out preliminary research before making a loan request. The museum’s online collections database provides a resource for initial research, though note that some objects have not yet been added, and not all have images. We welcome informal, early contact to discuss object selection and borrowing practicalities.

Enquiries should be sent to our team, who will assist you with your request.

Once in a position to request a loan, the following process should be followed

1. Formal loan request

Send at least 12 months in advance of the exhibition opening the following information in your formal request:

  • Exhibition / display title
  • Venue
  • Exhibition / display open and close dates
  • Main exhibition / display themes
  • Full details of the object requested, included object numbers
  • Explanation for how the objects requested fit into the exhibition display and concept
  • Contact details
  • How the objects will be insured/indemnified
  • Facilities report (if available)

Please send hard copy to our director, Luke Syson (at the address below), or via email to him and our loans team.

Director, The Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1RB

2. Loan Approval Process

A prospective borrower will receive an acknowledgement letter within two weeks of sending a formal loan request. The request will be reviewed, based on availability, the suitability of the objects for loan, the impact on displays and research projects and the availability of resource to deliver the loan. We will also consider public and scholarly benefit, and the importance of the objects for the exhibition.

The Museum’s Loans Group meets every two months and recommends approval or otherwise from Senior Management Team meetings the following month. For objects valued over £1,000,000, loan approval will also be sought from the Syndicate of the Museum.

Once a decision has been made a formal loan decision letter will be sent within two weeks of the Senior Management/Syndicate Meeting.

The Loans Group will consider whether costs, including conservation, staff time cost recovery, materials will be applied to loans. In rare cases, a commercial fee may be applied.

3. Loan conditions

  • If approved the Fitzwilliam will expect the borrower to abide by certain conditions, outlined in Schedule 3 of the loan agreement.
  • A registrar will be assigned to the Loan, and will liaise with the borrower around all arrangements.

Object Photography

Images of the Fitzwilliam museum should be credited: © Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge

For all photography and reproduction requests of approved loans please contact our Image Library

Useful links

Contact the Registrars

All loan requests are administered by the Registrars Department, with oversight from the Loans Group, which reports to Senior Management Team.

Governance is delegated to the Syndicate of the Fitzwilliam Museum under the terms of the Statutes and Ordinances of the University of Cambridge (Statute D, Chapter XI; Ordinances Chapter X, “Institutions under the Supervision of the Council – Fitzwilliam Museum”).

Main email: loans@fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk

Ellie Saggers, Acting Registrar
Email: ems86@cam.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1223 331 628 / +44 (0)7922 578165

Liz Woods, Assistant Registrar
Email: ew210@cam.ac.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1223 332 909

Olivia Maguire, Assistant Registrar
Email: orm23@cam.ac.uk

Incidents and Emergencies

In case of an incident involving a Fitzwilliam Museum loan, please inform your allocated Registrar contact.

For out of hours incidents call: +44 (0)7922 578165

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