Perils of Lending Rare Book and Archival Materials for Exhibition: Identifying Threats and Evaluating Exposures

Perils of Lending Rare Book and Archival Materials for Exhibition: Identifying Threats and Evaluating Exposures

Patti Gibbons (University of Chicago Library, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4754-9.ch013

Abstract

As an outreach strategy, libraries and archives lend rare book and primary source materials to cultural heritage institutions for exhibitions, making significant holdings and collection materials available more widely to new audiences for viewing, research, and study. These texts, manuscripts, and archival documents are often highly valuable, historically significant, and irreplaceable. By identifying, evaluating, and addressing risks present during loans, lenders minimize exposure and potential losses of these valuable cultural heritage materials. This chapter examines specific ways lenders can recognize and assess risks presented during an exhibition loan and helps institutions better protect their important holdings and prevent detrimental losses to culturally significant materials.
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Background

The range of potential perils for materials on display is typically greater than those for materials held behind the scenes in secure storage spaces. In addition to building-specific threats, such as fires and broken pipes; regional risks, such as hurricanes and earthquakes; materials on display have higher public visibility, making the materials more vulnerable to theft, vandalism, and judicial seizure. Additionally, because materials loaned for display are often unique, historically significant, and often have very high monetary values, institutional disaster plans and loan registration policies must specifically speak to the issues exhibition loans present in order to protect institutions from risk and potential loss in the event of an unforeseen incident.

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