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a Chinese sword of the Ming Dynasty decorated with gold and semi precious stones to form the face of a mythical lion

Loans of objects to and from the museum is arranged through the Royal Armouries' Registrar Team.

They can advise on the following areas:


Royal Armouries
Armouries Drive
LS10 1LT
+44 (0)113 220 1960
Contact us

Loans in

We borrow objects from a wide range of places, people and organizations. These loans enhance our collection and enable us to display objects not normally seen by the public.

Objects we have borrowed have the prefix ‘AL’ in the accession number, the details of some of these can be found at our collection online website.

Loans out

We loan objects to organisations across the globe, from a single item to an entire exhibition.

Requesting a loan

  • All loans are subject to availability and our conditions of loan.
  • All loan requests must be submitted in writing to the Royal Armouries Registrar.
  • Requests should be made at least six months before the objects are required. Requests made less than six months before dispatch will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.
  • A request acknowledgement will be sent to you within three weeks of us receiving the request and a decision in principle should be made within six weeks.
  • The Board of Trustees of the Armouries have the final decision and have the right to turn down any loan request.
    Loans will only be made to venues that have suitable environmental and security conditions.
  • To determine this, a UK Registrar’s Group (UKRG) Facilities Report must be completed and the loan venue security must be approved by the Arts Council National Security Advisor, both arranged by the Royal Armouries.

External loans policy (pdf, 10 KB)
GIS guidelines for national museums (pdf, 577 KB)

Loan costs

Before requesting a loan, all borrowers should consider various factors:

  • packing
  • transportation and costs
  • loan inspection for longer loans
  • Payment for or reimbursement of costs associated with the loan
  • Loan administration fee for overseas loans and loans to private UK museums or commercial institutions

Examples of costs

  • Royal Armouries display mounts
  • Packing and transport
  • Courier travel and subsistence
  • Photographic images
  • Conservation work is required during and immediately after the loan, should this be necessary.
  • An inspection every three years (for 3 year renewable loans only)
  • Some venues will be charged for staff time
  • Insure each loan object for the value given by the Royal Armouries
  • Courier travel and expenses from and to the Royal Armouries and between venues, (Travelling exhibitions, whether in the UK or overseas)

Loan charges booklet (pdf, 32 KB)

Loan inspections

Loans on a three year renewal basis for longer term exhibitions will require regular loan inspections, which will be conducted:

  • Not more than once every three years
  • By a member of Royal Armouries staff

The borrower is responsible for the costs associated with the inspection.

If you plan to move the loan objects or refurbish the gallery they are displayed in at any time, you will need to contact us prior to the activity to gain permission, and in some cases it will be necessary for us to send a member of Royal Armouries staff to supervise the movement of loaned objects.

Packing and transport

  • It is the responsibility of the borrower to arrange and pay for packing and transport, with a company that has been approved by the Royal Armouries
  • All transport must be carried out in line with the Government Indemnity Scheme transport conditions (pdf, 156 KB)
  • At least one Royal Armouries courier (more if necessary) will accompany all loans, to care for the objects during transit and install them in their display case on arrival. This will also be required when a loan is returned
  • All couriers in the UK or overseas must be booked business class tickets for rail journeys and flights

Related documents

UKRG security supplement (pdf, 306 KB)

UKRG display case supplement (pdf, 277 KB)

Borrower's questionnaire (pdf, 56 KB)

UKRG facilities report (pdf, 303 KB)

Alternative communication formats

Please contact us if you require any of our downloadable documents in an alternative format.