The Gayer Anderson Cat will be lent to Shetland Museum from the British Museum in 2013

Forgan makes the case for Smarter Loans at launch of MA's principles for UK loans

Patrick Steel, 07.02.2012
Cheaper to loan from Gdansk than London, says Captain Cook Museum chair
Speaking at the launch of the Museum Association’s publication Smarter Loans: key principles for loans in the UK, Sophie Forgan, chair of trustees at the Captain Cook Museum, told the audience: “I know loans take work, time and trouble, and I know they cost.

"But I was amazed that bringing material over from Gdansk in Poland cost us a fraction of what it takes to bring stuff up from London.”

Forgan addressed over 60 museum directors, partnership managers and representatives from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England, the Association of Independent Museums, and the UK Registrars Group at the invite-only event in the British Museum’s Hartwell Room on Friday last week.

She applauded the MA’s Smarter Loans initiative, and urged more museums to partner together in a "win-win situation".

British Museum director Neil MacGregor and MA president Vanessa Trevelyan also spoke at the event.

MacGregor said afterwards: "National collections, such as the British Museum’s should be used as a ‘lending library’ for museums across the UK. Objects attract new meanings and engage new audiences as they are seen in difference venues.

"Smarter Loans is an important initiative, encouraging us all to think more pragmatically about lending."

Trevelyan added: “I think the guidelines are a real step forward in providing advice on loans, and can draw on excellent case studies showing the impact of using collections more flexibly.”

The MA has been working with the sector on the key principles over the past year as part of its Esmée Fairbairn funded Effective Collections programme.

Sally Colvin, the MA’s collections coordinator, said: “These guidelines are an enormously useful resource for museums. We would like people to read them and to apply them to their museums.”

Downloads and links

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

Read the full text of Sophie Forgan’s speech

Read more about Smarter Loans