Request for consultation, loan and sampling of collections

The Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle (National Museum of Natural History) collections can be consulted, loaned and sampled for research and teaching purposes, and lent for exhibitions. In this section you will find the procedures and conditions for borrowing, as well as all the information you need to make a request.

Consultation, loan and sampling for research and teaching

For documentary, archival and art collections

On the libraries' website you’ll find all our information for:

For the naturalist collections

Requests for consultation, loan and sampling for scientific or educational purposes must be made via the Colhelper internet platform for which the creation of an account is mandatory. The Scientific collections tab allows access to the collection concerned.

Loan for an exhibition

Loan requests for an exhibition and/or distribution should be filled in the internet platform Colhelper, under the heading "Exhibition". Due to regulatory constraints on the circulation of the items concerned and interactions with the borrower, requests must be sent at least 6 months before the opening of the exhibition.

They should indicate:

  • The title, location and dates of the exhibition,
  • The scientific and cultural project of the exhibition,
  • The facility report for the exhibition venue,
  • The foreseen presentation conditions for each piece or specimen,
  • Requests for reproductions of the exhibits for the exhibition catalogue or any other communication or educational use.

What are the criteria for consideration?

Depending on the nature of the collections concerned, each request is studied and processed:

  • by the Dissemination and mediation of knowledge and Conservation, restoration, digitisation departments of the Library Directorate,
  • by the scientific and technical managers, the Delegation for Movements and Acquisition and the Delegation for Conservation and Restoration of the Directorate of Naturalist Collections.

The following criteria are considered:

  • availability of the requested item,
  • status of the item and its possible restrictive loan clauses, in particular linked to the issuing and obtaining of certificates and authorisations for transport and exhibition for regulated and protected species,
  • the state of conservation of the piece and its fragility,
  • security and conservation conditions offered by the borrowing institution,
  • existence and adequacy of the scientific and cultural project,
  • quality and legal status of the borrowing institution, training of its staff: any request from a non-museum organisation will be studied on an individual basis in the light of the relevance of its scientific and cultural project and its capacity to ensure the implementation of the loan in compliance with the conditions stipulated.

The decision-making process

Loans for exhibitions are subject to the approval of the President of the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle in light of the opinion of the Director General in charge of Collections.

Reasons for refusal and/or withdrawal

  • a request made or completed too late to ensure the execution of the loan.
  • conditions of conservation and security deemed not to be compliant.
  • the circulation of protected and regulated species is subject to the issue of legal documents. Any delays in obtaining them may call into question the feasibility of loans.
  • the collections managed and assigned to the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle are national public collections and part of Musées de France. Any loan request without a detailed scientific and cultural project, or any request for decorative or amusement purposes will be refused.
  • the refusal of the owner when the collection item is on loan at the Museum.
  • the non-receipt of original contractual documents such as the loan agreement and the original insurance certificate.
  • the failure to use a company specialising in the packing and transport of works of art, if this was stipulated as a condition for obtaining the loan.
  • not managing a potential escort.

The provision of specimens and objects

Proposals for a collection departure and return schedule should be made:

  • to the Conservation, Restoration, Digitisation Department for documentary and archival collections,
  • to the Delegation for Movements and Acquisitions for the natural history collections.

The objects are made available at most two weeks before the opening of the exhibition, and returns are made within a maximum of two weeks after the closing date. All requests for exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis and must be duly justified.

Depending on the duration of the exhibition and the type of documents or specimens requested, rotations may be requested, including a possible escort. The dates and terms of these rotations will be set out in the loan agreement.

Our requirements in terms of loan conditions

The borrower is responsible for the following costs:

  • the supply of frames and mounting boards for the framing, which will be made by the library restoration workshop.
  • cleaning and restoration for specimens from naturalist collections where this is necessary for the loan of the object.
  • the wall to wall and all risks exhibition insurance.
  • installation and basing if new equipment is required.
  • the use and detailed coverage of a transport admitted by our services.
  • the round trip escort including the per diem of the escort, if required by the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle.
  • sending catalogues addressed to the Directorate General for Collections, the number of which will be stipulated in the agreement.
  • transport and packaging costs.

The Muséum National d’histoire naturelle urges that these operations be carried out by specialised companies whose names must be submitted to it in advance.

Any handling by unqualified and unauthorised personnel and any transport by vehicles other than appropriately equipped vehicles will be systematically refused.

The loan is conditional on the signing of an agreement by the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle.

The borrower must indicate next to the image used or the specimen presented and on all media (publications, communications, etc.) the caption and credit of the objects provided: name of the object © Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle / name of the photographer or the specific credits provided by the Museum.

The most frequently asked questions

What if the request is amended?

Any request for an additional loan, a change of dates or locations must be notified at least 4 months before the opening date

  • to the address expodbd [@] for archival and documentary collections,
  • to the Delegation for Movements and Acquisitions for the natural history collections.

This request will be submitted for validation by the Directorate General for Collections

What if the request is cancelled?

Any cancellation of a loan must be submitted as soon as possible

  • to the address expodbd [@] for archival, documentary, and art collections,
  • to the Delegation for Movements and Acquisitions for the natural history collections.

Any costs already incurred will remain the responsibility of the borrower.

What are the conditions for reproductions and the rights of the images of the collections?

All requests to use photographs and/or moving images of borrowed objects and/or specimens belonging to the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle (for any type of exploitation, commercial or otherwise) must be submitted:

  • to the Knowledge Dissemination and Mediation Department of the Library Directorate, at biblimages [@], for archival, documentary and art collections,
  • to the Images department of the Public Services Directorate, at phototheque [@], for the naturalist collections.

All requests for authorisation to take photographs and/or videos on the premises of the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle and/or to photograph or film objects and/or specimens borrowed and still protected by intellectual property provisions must be submitted to the dedicated department:

Making a request for filming or photography

Your contact person

Archival, documentary and artistic collections:

Contact, research prior to application, partnership application, submission of official application: expodbd [@]

Naturalist collections:

Access the Colhelper internet platform