Loans for exhibitions

The National Archives is now open although we are only able to offer a limited service. All visits and orders must be booked online. Read our news story for full details.

Please do not send postal correspondence to the Loans Team, as we are still working from home. The Loans Team can be contacted at the following email address: exhibitionloans@nationalarchives.gov.uk.

Section 2(4)(g) of the Public Records Act 1958 empowers The National Archives to lend documents ‘for display at commemorative exhibitions and for other special purposes’. Applicants for loans must meet all conditions, including those on timescales, costs, travel and display, as laid out in our conditions for loans. If you would like to borrow documents from The National Archives, there are some points you should consider:

  • We require six months’ advance notice for any loan
  • Loans are made to one venue only
  • The period of loan is usually three to six months
  • We do not usually lend more than ten documents to any one exhibition
  • The borrower is responsible for all costs, including insurance, conservation treatment if required, conservator time, and all costs associated with the installation and collection of borrowed items, including courier time and preparation. See Fees regulations
  • Loans will be considered for public display purposes only
  • The National Archives must be clearly acknowledged in both the display and any accompanying catalogues to the exhibition

COVID-19 update for international loans

The National Archives continues to consider new requests for international loans. We invite the borrower to think carefully about the relevance of our documents to their exhibition, and we recommend to start initial conversations early, which will allow us to consider any necessary alternative solutions on travel, installation or potential longer term storage.

As always, our approval of any loan will be dependent on the facilities at the borrowing venue, the condition of the documents, their fitness for travel and display, and their assured safety throughout the loan period. In addition, any agreement to lend will be contingent on the pandemic restrictions at the planned time of transport. Therefore The National Archives reserves the right to withdraw from the loan at any time, if it becomes apparent that our documents would be at risk, or if it is no longer possible for them to travel.

How to apply

Apply for a loan using our loans for exhibitions application form. You can download, fill in by hand and email your completed form to us or send it by post to: The National Archives, Collection Care: Loans and exhibitions team, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU.

General enquiries

For general loan enquiries please email us at Exhibition Loans.

The National Archives is now open although we are only able to offer a limited service.

A selection of recent exhibitions that our documents have been lent for display at.