Loaning Museum Items for Exhibits

Plume hunting case
Plume hunting case

Photo courtesy of the Museum of the Everglades

Date: 3-14-2018

On average only 10 percent of a museum’s collection is on display at any time, but how does a museum program with little or no exhibit space provide access to their collection? One way is through loans.

As part of the National Park Service (NPS), the South Florida Collections Management Center enables the loan process of the five south Florida park collections it manages to educational, cultural, or scientific institutions. All loans—whether they are for exhibit, analysis, research, photography, conservation, education, or storage—are approved first by that park’s superintendent.

Flobert Rile before boxed
Flobert  Rifle before boxed

NPS Photo

Regardless as to why an object is going out on loan, museum staff works to make sure the materials are transported safely and cared for properly while away. We carefully pack objects and provide directions on how to open and remove the packed materials once they have arrived.

Exhibits are just one way that the NPS provides access to collections and one reason that objects are loaned. We were excited to have two of our objects recently on display at the Museum of the Everglades as part of its Plume Hunting in the Everglades exhibit. Through the loan of the museum collection’s flobert rifle, used to hunt birds for their feathers, and the memorial plaque of Guy Bradley, who was killed in the line of duty protecting birds nesting in the Everglades, we could contribute to the wonderful exhibit telling a significant story of conservation and preservation in Everglades National Park’s history and the larger cultural history of the nation.

Alexandra Carrier
Museum Technician

Artifacts wrapped for transport
Artifacts wrapped for transport with directions to open

NPS Photo

Last updated: September 27, 2018