Royal Museums Greenwich holds world-class collections, including historical maritime items, art, photography and film. Through our loans programme, we are committed to making our collections accessible to the widest possible audience.

Our loans programme enables us to make items not on display in Greenwich available to other organisations. Through this work our collections are seen by a wider audience across Britain and around the world.

Who can request a loan?

We consider loan requests for objects in our collections from public organisations, including:
  • museums, galleries, libraries and archives
  • government and public buildings

Lending criteria

We assess all loan requests against the following criteria:

  • is the requested object available for loan i.e. not required by Royal Museums Greenwich for gallery display, temporary exhibition or education programmes, or already promised for loan elsewhere?
  • does the proposed loan support our mission to widen and enhance physical and intellectual access to our collections?
  • does the request meet our minimum notice periods, which are six months for UK borrowers and twelve months for international borrowers
  • is the requested object robust enough to travel?
  • how do the resources needed to prepare the loan impinge on our wider programme?

Useful notes

  • the required notice period is datable from receipt of a formal loan request to the National Maritime Museum listing the desired items

  • loan requests should quote the Museum’s collection catalogue reference number(s) wherever possible

  • the Museum cannot guarantee to consider loan requests that do not meet the stated notice periods

  • we will not accept notice of intention to submit a 'late' request

  • the Museum considers loans for temporary exhibitions and displays (up to 1 year) and for long term loans (3 years+).

Requesting a loan - the process

The process of requesting a loan from NMM involves the following steps.

1. Preliminary research and enquiries

Make use of our online collections to find out what we offer and identify items that meet your needs in advance of the deadline. Contact us to discuss your exhibition proposal in more detail and find out how we can help.

2. Make a formal request

Formal loan requests must be made in writing on institutional letterhead and addressed to the Director, Royal Museums Greenwich. Requests should include the following details:

  • title of the exhibition or display
  • exhibition venue(s) and key dates
  • exhibition organiser contact details
  • whether a tour is planned (or not) and an indication of possible venues and dates
  • general outline of the exhibition topic and aims
  • list of items requested, quoting museum collection catalogue reference numbers wherever possible
  • reason for requesting items from the collection
  • an undertaking to meet all direct costs arising from the loan. Costs may include conservation, photography, packing, transport, insurance, couriering
  • a UK Registrar's Group Standard Facilities and Security Report for each venue, including information about the environment and security set-up
  • environmental data from the proposed display space.

Useful documents

Useful notes

  • Any changes made to the details submitted must be confirmed in writing to the Museum
  • We will not undertake to provide a substitute artefact in the event of an object being withdrawn from exhibition
  • It is helpful if you can forward a copy of the formal request letter to

3. What happens next?

Formal loan requests are forwarded to the Registration Department who coordinate the loan assessment process. This involves intensive consultation with curators, conservators, exhibitions and education departments at Royal Museums Greenwich.

The team will:

  • respond quickly and efficiently to new loan requests
  • discuss requests with curators to ensure items are available and suitable for exhibition aims
  • ask the Conservation Department to carry out assessments to ensure items are in an exhibitable state and able to travel. If conservation work is required a cost estimate will be provided
  • submit loan requests for senior management and directorial approval
  • prepare a Loan Agreement form specifying the environmental requirements, insurance values and credit lines for requested items
  • specify or approve the agent or carrier for all shipping, packing and transport of the item(s)
  • reserve the right to specify a courier to supervise transportation and/or installation of the item(s)
  • if it’s a long-term loan, periodically and at the borrower's cost, inspect the item(s) to assure that they are receiving appropriate care and attention

The approval of all loan requests is taken by the Director and Deputy Director of Royal Museums Greenwich.

Who to contact for general and public loans

If you represent a museum, gallery or other public-service organisation, contact the Loans Registrar to discuss your needs and queries.


Tel: +44 (0)20 8312 6559

Loans Registrar, Registration Section, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF