General Policies on Loans and Use of Collections

Availability of Collections Onsite 

The Minerals collection shall be available for examination and study by any qualified individual. Requests for access to the collection shall be made by written and/or verbal form to section staff.

Contact WilsonM@carnegiemnh.org with your request or:
Marc or Debra Wilson
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
4400 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Final decision as to the nature of a request to use the collection shall be the responsibility of Minerals curatorial staff, together with the director of the museum, if necessary. Decisions shall be based upon the use of the collection in furthering the mission of the museum.

The collection of the museum shall be available for examination and study under the normal museum security procedures and other special procedures as established by Minerals for the protection of the collection.

Loans to Other Members of the Scientific Community 

A loan is the temporary physical transfer of material without transfer of ownership. Loans are undertaken by Carnegie Museum of Natural History as a matter of professional courtesy. The policies for onsite use shall apply in determining whether to provide loans to others for use outside museum premises.

Generally, objects/specimens from the collection shall be loaned only to other scientific, research, or educational institutions and not to individuals. Requests should include the following information:

  • the purpose of the loan;
  • a description of the material requested in as much detail as possible;
  • where, and under whose responsibility, the specimens will be housed while on loan.

A permanently employed institutional representative who has authority to bind the borrowing institution should be named responsible for the loan. Investigators who are not located at, or affiliated with, an institution can arrange to have specimens sent to a nearby facility as long as a responsible member of that institution is willing to accept responsibility for the specimens, and provided that the specimens remain on the premises of that institution. Specimens requested by students, post-doctoral fellows, or emeritus faculty require endorsement by an appropriate curator or current faculty member with authority to bind the institution, and are considered the direct responsibility of the institution and the endorser. Under exceptional circumstances, loans may be made to individual borrowers without institutional affiliation or sponsorship. Loans from the permanent collection are made for non-commercial purposes.

Some specimens in the collection are not available for loan, including specimens judged too fragile or too environmentally sensitive to travel. In addition to these general policies, the section may make, subject to the approval of the director, special policies for loans of specimens under their care and for the protection of specimens while on loan. Other stipulations subject to all loaned specimens according to the museum’s policies will be disclosed once approval has been issued to the requestor.