Smarter loans

The key principles of loans between UK museums
Over the last year the MA has been working with the sector on Smarter Loans: key principles for loans in the UK. This work was part of the Esmee Fairbairn funded Effective Collections programme.

Making the case

The aim of Smarter Loans is to make the case for loans and highlight the benefits they can bring both for museums and for the public, and to call on museums to make lending a core activity.

Through the Smarter Loans principles the MA wants to foster a greater sense of partnership and cooperation between organisations involved in the loans process, taking an ethical approach to loans and prioritising the public benefit in balance with any potential risks.

More and better loans

It is hoped that the principles will support museums that have never lent or borrowed material before, or perhaps who only do it occasionally, to have the confidence to make this a regular activity.

The MA also wants to help museums to improve the quality and impact of loans.

In straitened times it is more important than ever that the greatest impact can be delivered from each activity, and this includes loans.

Smarter Loans encourages museums to capture the benefits of loans so they can be used to continue to make the case for this essential area of activity.

Links and downloads


Smarter loans


Smarter Loans: key principles for loans in the UK (pdf)


Smarter Loans: the benefit and impact of loans

Practical ways to reduce the cost of lending and borrowing of cultural objects among member states of the European Union

Full report (pdf)


Toolkit (pdf)

Executive summary (pdf)

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