Planning International Exhibitions: A Checklist

The following can be used as a guide in planning an international exhibition and later in formulating the loan agreements. Although each exhibition situation may not require a decision for each of the items, it can be helpful in assuring that an important decision has not been neglected during the planning and negotiation process.

Schedule and Location

Decision on the dates for the loan.
Include sufficient time to cover the shipment, receipt, unpacking, installation, exhibition period, dismantling, repacking and return shipment.

Objects or artworks to be included in the exhibition

Preliminary decision on items to be included.
Decide when a complete and final catalogue listing will be provided.

Curator / Organizer

Who is the Curator responsible for the exhibition, acting on behalf of the borrowing and lending institutions.
Who will select the items for exhibition and negotiate the loans.

Responsibilities of the organizer and borrowing institutions regarding:

–Design and printing of special loan forms, receipts, condition report forms or stationary.
–Period of responsibility / liability for objects.
–Signing of individual lender’s agreements.
–Acceptance and payment of loan fees.
–Responsibility for collection, packing, shipping, courier arrangements, security, etc.
–Application for immunity from seizure.

Packing Methods and Materials

Decide on the most advanced methods and materials in order to assure secure and safe transport.
Provision for the borrower to review the packing technique, especially where insurance liability is in effect.
Nature of crate lists, packing and unpacking instructions.

Condition Reports

The organizing curators in collaboration with conservator, to prepare master report and photographs. Condition checked at time of preparation and packing for transport to borrowing institution.
Responsible individual to check condition of objects at packing and re-packing points along the tour.

Requirements for receipts.
How damage or loss is to be recorded and reported to organizer and lenders.


Scheduled date of transit.
Transit should be via mutually agreeable carrier. What will be the carrier for each portion of the journey.

Security arrangements.

How exhibition will be moved from museum to transport point (in the case of air transport).

Decide if necessity to split shipment on more than one vehicle to meet insurance or indemnity requirements.

Decide on necessity for courier or curatorial escort accompaniment.

Decide on reasonable travel expenses if courier deemed necessary.

Customs Responsibility

Who will be responsible for clearance of customs in foreign countries.

Who is responsible for securing export licenses.
The selection of a customs broker.

Insurance / Indemnity

Who will arrange for insurance under indemnity or through commercial carrier.

Approximate total value and specific period of coverage.

Value to be quoted in what currency — this is important in times of fluctuating currency values.

Indication if there is to be a split coverage situation.

Provision for sending insurance certificates.

Indication that lenders (in the case of individual objects loaned as part of a larger exhibition ) which prefer their own insurance will have the borrowers as additional insured or waive subrogation against the borrowing institution(s) as referenced in the loan agreements.

Indication of how insurance premium will be paid.

Preservation / Installation

Conservation treatment to be undertaken prior to the loan and whether any conservation is required during the itinerary and who is responsible, etc.

Note that no conservation to be undertaken without approval of lenders.

Any special handling requirements or installation needs.

Special requirements for lighting, temperature, humidity.

Designate who has the responsibility for the design  concept of the installation of the exhibition. designate if there is requirement for special display equipment, e.g. showcases, display panels, etc.

State that the borrowing institution may omit objects from display for good cause (with prior approval of lender).

Allowance for couriers or lender representatives to be present at unpacking and installation.

Provision for security alarms, and/or guards in the exhibition areas.

Exhibition Catalogue

–Who will be responsible for editing, designing, translations of the catalogue.

–Where will catalogue be produced.

–Number of catalogues to be included and suggested price.

–Foreign language editions and provisions for translations.

Artifact reproductions, post cards, posters, etc.

Reproduction permissions: provision for resolving copyright problems, paying royalties, or reproduction fees.


–Control of the labeling, press releases, promotion, public service TV films, photographs, etc.

–Credit lines for sponsors, organizer.

–Allowance for view of press releases in advance by organizer and borrower.

–Opening invitations and reception.

–Provision for who, how, and when photography is to be allowed while on display.

–Admission fees.


Specify any other materials which will travel with the exhibition such as showcases, graphics, panels, etc.

Decide on sharing of costs and revenues, if a collaborative venture.

Set timetable for completion of various stages of the project.

Should there be a provision for sharing costs if exhibition is subject to early cancellation?.


Please contact us if you would like to discuss an upcoming touring exhibition project.