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Research & Collections :: Collections at the State Museum :: Biology
NYSM Ornithology Policy Regarding Outgoing Loans

Loans are temporary physical transfers of specimens without any transfer of ownership. The New York State Museum (NYSM) grants two basic types of outgoing loan requests: Exhibition or Research. Specimens from the “Teaching Collection” are loaned to educators under the terms of an Exhibition Loan.

Requests to borrow NYSM specimens should be made in writing to the Curator of Birds:

Dr. Jeremy Kirchman
New York State Museum
3140 CEC
Albany NY 12230

The Request may be submitted electronically as an email attachment to

Research Loans

Requests should include the following information: purpose of the loan including a brief description of the proposed research, description of the material requested in as much detail as possible, quantity of specimens needed, and where and under whose responsibility the specimens will be housed while on loan. Loans are made only to institutions, not individuals. However, a permanently employed representative of the institution must be named as the responsible party for the loan.

Requests will be reviewed by staff of the Curator relative to the quantity of available material and restrictions placed on certain specimens. Requests for destructive sampling and testing are handled differently. For more information, please review the NYSM Ornithology Policy Regarding Destructive Sampling.

Exhibition Loans

Institutions wishing to borrow objects for exhibition or educational purposes must send their request in writing to the Curator. The request must state the specific objects to be borrowed, the title and nature of the exhibit or course, the dates and location of the exhibit including all venues if traveling, and any other pertinent information. All exhibiting institutions must submit an AAM Standard Facilities Report for all venues which is reviewed by the NYSM Registrar. The borrowing institution must assure the continued physical integrity and safety of the material and guarantee that its sole use will be in scholarly, educational or cultural pursuits. Security and environmental controls must be adequate for all materials on public exhibition.

All specimens loaned from the New York State Museum are subject to the following guidelines. All exceptions must be requested and granted in writing. Failure to follow the NYSM guidelines may jeopardize future borrowing privileges.

  1. The length for each loan will be negotiated at the time of the loan, generally not to exceed six months. Requests for extensions should be made in writing to the Curator. The NYSM may recall a loan for any reason with 30 days written notification. Immediate action may be taken if care and exhibition of items do not meet the conditions of the loan.
  2. Specimens may not be forwarded to another institution or individual without written permission from NYSM.
  3. Specimens should be stored according to professional standards in cases and/or facilities that are free from hazards (insects, rodents, fire, vandalism, theft, water damage, etc.). NYSM will recommend storage and handling guidelines for unusual or sensitive materials. Objects in need of conservation must be stablized before being lent. NYSM may negotiate with the borrowing institution for the cost of such conservation.
  4. Specimens should not be sampled, dissected, remounted or in anyway altered without written permission. Special permission is required for destructive testing or invasive sampling of any kind. Guidelines for destructive sampling requests are available from the Curator of Birds.
  5. No New York State Museum identifying numbers or tags may be removed from the material. All original documentation accompanying the specimens (including labels) must never be discarded or covered over. Identifying numbers placed on material by the borrowing institution for their own purposes must be of a non-permanent nature.
  6. Biological specimens representing extinct or endangered species, type specimens, voucher collections, specimens described or figured in publications, fragile specimens or single representatives of a taxon are generally not available for loans. Exceptions to this must be approved in writing by the appropriate Curator. Type specimens and other special specimens as listed above must be returned within 30 days of receipt by registered priority mail.
  7. The borrowing institution is responsible for the lent materials while in transit, and while at the borrowing institution. Therefore, specimens should be packed and shipped according to national and international laws governing transportation, and in a manner similar to or better than as received. Wooden shipping containers must be returned to NYSM. The borrower must agree in advance to cover the cost of return shipping and insurance, and to provide condition reports upon receipt and upon return. Specimens must be insured for the value indicated on the original shipping invoice. Insured values in excess of $1,000 require a certificate of insurance unless otherwise stated.
  8. Adequate recognition shall be given the New York State Museum on all exhibition labels and in all news releases and publications, citing the New York State Museum, Albany, as the lender of the material. The acronym "NYSM" should be used for citing the Museum's specimens. Authors shall send two reprints of any publication based in whole or in part upon material loaned from the Museum. One copy will reside in the Museum's library, the other in the department from which the specimens were borrowed.
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