Exhibition Loan Policy


The Wilson Special Collections Library supports requests for exhibition loans from its collections. Requests will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria: physical condition of the item(s); facilities and program of the borrowing institution; rarity and research value of the item(s); anticipated need of the item(s) for Wilson Library purposes, as well as the timing and duration of the loan. The Library does not charge a fee. However, the borrowing institution is responsible for all costs associated with the loan, such as, but not limited to, photographic reproductions, mount preparation, packing, transportation, and insurance.

There is a formal request and approval procedure for borrowing from Wilson Special Collections Library with specific conditions that a borrower must meet.

Initial Inquiries

The Library welcomes initial inquiries that are carried out far enough in advance to allow adequate time for review and assessment and so that a formal request letter can be submitted at least 6 months before the date a potential loan is needed. Shortly after an initial inquiry is made, a preliminary evaluation of the requested item(s) will be made by the curator and a conservator, and the prospective borrower will be notified of any special needs, requirements, or restrictions on the request.

Initial inquiries about materials from the following collections should be made to the following individuals. Inquiries about items from multiple collections should be sent as a single email with each relevant curator copied.

North Carolina Collection
Jason Tomberlin, Interim Curator

Rare Book Collection
Emily Kader, Interim Curator

Southern Folklife Collection
Steven Weiss, Curator

Southern Historical Collection
Chaitra Powell, Curator

University Archives
Nicholas Graham, University Archivist

Formal Loan Request

A formal request letter to borrow materials from the Wilson Special Collections Library should be addressed to:

Elizabeth Ott, Interim Director
Wilson Special Collections Library
CB#3908, Wilson Library
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC 27515-8890

The letter should be signed by the Director (or highest officer) of the borrowing institution and must be received at least six months in advance of the anticipated shipping date. Requests with less advance notice may not be able to be accommodated. The request should include the following information:

  • Title of the exhibition and a brief description of its purpose and scope
  • Inclusive dates of the exhibition and inclusive dates of proposed loan (for each venue if more than one is proposed)
  • Name(s) and affiliation of exhibition curator(s)
  • Detailed information about the item(s) to be borrowed: full citation and call number for printed materials; collection name, box and folder number for archival and manuscript materials
  • Page openings for volumes; for multi-paged manuscripts, an exact description of what is to be displayed
  • Indication of plans for a published catalog and/or Web version of the exhibition; indication of any photography or scanning needs
  • Statement of willingness to conform to the conditions of loan set by the lender

An American Association of Museums facilities report (preferred) or equivalent report, which meets the Library’s standards, should accompany the request letter. In the case of a traveling exhibition, a facilities report for each venue should be included.

Loan Agreement Form

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

Exhibition Requests

Loans must be received, stored, and displayed in a secure area with stable conditions with respect to temperature (65-70o F +2o), relative humidity (50% + 5%), and light. Required light levels, ranging from 3-10 footcandles with all UV radiation eliminated, will be specified based on the degree of sensitivity of the item. Wall-to-wall fine arts insurance for the full value of the item(s), without deductible, must be provided for the full term of the loan.

A pre-loan condition report and guidelines for preparation, installation, and repacking will be sent with all loans. Loans are generally limited to a three-month exhibition; requests for longer display will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

For further information, please contact:

Rebecca Smyrl, Assistant Conservator for Special Collections