Loan requests and consultation of the collections

The Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle’s collections may be loaned for research and exhibitions. In this section you will find the borrowing procedures and conditions, as well as all the information you need to make a request.


Making a loan request via COLHELPER

How can I make a loan request?
All loan requests must be made via the Colhelper internet platform. You will need to create an account for this.

NB. All loan requests for exhibition and/or distribution must be entered in the "Exhibition" section. Scientific loan requests must be entered in the section for the collection concerned.

For exhibition and distribution, all official requests must be made at least 4 months before the opening of the exhibition. This timeframe is based on the resources available to the management office, interactions with the borrower and regulatory restrictions on the circulation of the items concerned.
The management office reserves the right to decline these requests is the timeframe is too short for the request.
Loan requests for distribution purposes are handled by the Muséum’s management office, which is the sole direct point of contact for all borrowing-related matters.

Information to provide in your Colhelper request
The applicant has a free text field in which to specify:

  • The exhibition dates
  • The full list of specimens required
  • The presentation and storage conditions.
  • If the institution has no facilities report, a questionnaire is systematically sent to the borrower to complete, so the feasibility of the loan can be assessed.
  • The scientific and cultural project of the exhibition.

A description of the exhibition’s scientific content must be attached to justify the obtaining of the regulatory documents needed for the exhibition, and the movements of specimens belonging to regulated, protected fauna and flora species.


Examination of the request

What are the examination criteria?
Each request is examined and processed according to the following criteria, in consultation with the heads of collections and technical teams:

  • Availability of the specimen or object.
  • The status of the specimen and any clauses placing restrictions on loans, particularly those linked to issuing and obtaining certificates and authorisations for the transport and exhibition of regulated and protected species.
  • The state of preservation and fragility of the specimen.
  • The security and storage conditions offered by the borrowing establishment.
  • The existence and suitability of the scientific and cultural project.
  • The quality and legal status of the borrowing establishment, its Musée de France certification and the training given to its staff.

Cf. Article 14 of the Musées de France law of 4 January 2002 abrogated by ordinance
2004-178 2004-02-20 art. 7 by regulatory provisions of the heritage code.
Therefore, any request from a non-Muséum organisation will be examined on an individual basis, and the relevance of its scientific and cultural project will be taken into consideration.

The decision-making process
Loans for exhibitions subject to the approval of the Director General of the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle and the Director of Collections. The heads of collections give their scientific approval. The management office validates the exhibition, transport and handling conditions, and all regulatory and administrative aspects.

Reasons for refusal and/or retraction

  • The circulation of protected and regulated species is subject to the issuing of legal documents, which may take so long to obtain as to compromise the feasibility of the loans.
  • Any requests exceeding the established timeframe of 4 months are unlikely to be successful.
  • The collections managed by and assigned to the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle are public national collections, and some are Musées de France certified. Thus any loan request without a detailed scientific and cultural plan, or for decoration or ornamental purposes, will be automatically refused.
  • Failure to receive the original contractural documents such as the loan agreement and the original insurance certificate.
  • Storage and security conditions not complying with our requirements.
  • Failure to cover the cost of a potential shipment.
  • Failure to employ a company specialising in the packing and transport of artworks, if this has been stipulated as a condition of obtaining the loan.

Our requirements in terms of loan conditions

The borrower must cover the following costs:

  • Cleaning and restoration, where these are necessary for the specimen to be lent.
  • Nail-to-nail and all risks exhibition insurance
  • Installation and mounting if the creation of new equipment is necessary.
  • Use of a comprehensively insured means of transport permitted by our services.
  • Shipment to and from the destination including the transporter’s per diem payments, if required by the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle.
  • Sending of catalogues to the management office, in the quantity stipulated in the agreement.
  • Packing and transport costs

The Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle requires these operations to be performed by specialist companies, and must have been informed of the companies’ names beforehand.
For all requests for packing and/or transport by the Muséum’s professional teams, the management office has sole authority to examine this type of request, which will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Any handling by unqualified, non-authorised personnel and any transport by vehicles other than specially converted administrative vehicles will be automatically refused. The loan is conditional on the signing of an agreement drawn up by the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, which replaces all loan forms sent by the borrowers, insofar as the loan conditions are stipulated.

Provision of the specimens and objects
Dates for collecting and returning the objects must be suggested to the management office. The objects are made available two weeks before the exhibition opening date at the earliest, and must be returned within two weeks after its closing date.
All special requests will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and the grounds for the request must be duly justified.


Frequently asked questions

What happens if there are any changes to the request?
The management office must be notified of any requests for additional loans or changes to dates or places, via Colhelper, at least 3 months before the opening date.
This request will be submitted to the general management and collection management teams for approval.

How do I cancel a request?
The management office must be notified of any loan cancellations as soon as possible. The borrower will remain liable for all expenses already incurred.

What reproduction conditions and image rights apply to the collections?
All requests to use photographs and/or animated images of borrowed objects and/or specimens belonging to the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (for all types of use) must be made to the dedicated audiovisual department: phototheque@mnhn.fr
All requests for permission to take photographs and/or film video on the premises of the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, and/or photograph or film borrowed objects and/or specimens that are still protected by intellectual property clauses, must be made to the dedicated department: tournage@mnhn.fr

Which contact should I use in case of need?
Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle
Direction des collections (collection management)
Bureau de la régie (management office)
57, rue Cuvier – CP 43
75005 Paris
regiecoll@mnhn.fr