Request a loan for exhibition

Items in the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) collection are available for short- and long-term loans. Materials include artwork, photographs, documents, books, plans, maps, drawings, films, microforms and sound recordings.

On this page

About this service

Borrowing institutions should submit loan requests well in advance of the exhibition opening date. The following are general lead times, but exceptions may be possible:

  • 1–5 items: 6 months
  • 6–20 items: 12 months
  • 21–40 items: 18 months

Loans of Indigenous items

LAC prioritizes loans that support reconciliation with Indigenous peoples (First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation). Loans of items created by or about Indigenous communities will be consistent with our Indigenous Heritage Action Plan.

LAC will make every effort to loan items to Indigenous communities that have connections to those items.

LAC requires borrowing institutions to consult with the Indigenous communities associated with Indigenous items before LAC will agree to the loans (for example, treaties).

Eligibility and requirements


LAC loans materials to organizations, institutions and communities that are able to meet agreed-upon LAC standards and requirements.

While LAC aims to give as much access as possible to the collection, loans are approved under the following conditions:

  • LAC should receive the written request at least 6 months before the exhibition date (to review the request, assess the material and prepare it for loan, if approved)
  • The loan must not conflict with LAC's legal obligations (for example, donor agreements, legislation or directives)
  • The context of the exhibition must follow Government of Canada values and ethics
  • The exhibition has been created mainly for educational purposes
  • A LAC conservation expert has assessed the items and decided that they may be loaned

LAC reserves the right to refuse loan requests, or to end loans, if they do not meet these conditions.


Read the Directive on Loans of LAC Holdings to learn more about costs, environmental requirements and other conditions.


Borrowing institutions are required to pay for these costs, agreed upon in advance:

  • services of a fine-art shipper that can work during regular business hours and is approved by LAC
  • shipping costs to and from the Preservation Centre in Gatineau, Quebec
    • this includes costs such as rush service, security, couriers, insurance, customs brokerage and any other needed expenses
  • new crates or frames (if needed), or adjustments to our crates and frames
  • custom supports for transport or display (if needed)
  • specialized conservation treatment
    • LAC provides a basic conservation assessment, minor treatment and standard preparation

Borrowing institutions may have no charges, or reduced costs, if:

  • items are being borrowed by an Indigenous community
  • the exhibition gives communities access to items that they created or that are about them
  • LAC already has a collaboration agreement with the borrowing institution


Before items can be shipped, borrowing institutions must:

  • insure items based on the value assigned by LAC
  • give LAC a copy of the Certificate of Insurance, which includes this information:
    • type of coverage (must be wall-to-wall museum insurance coverage, including in-transit)
    • borrowing institution's name
    • exhibition title and dates
    • names of all venues and dates
    • LAC's name
    • total value of loan

Environmental monitoring

Borrowing institutions must:

  • provide LAC with a General Facility Report that sets out the environmental conditions in which the borrowed items will be kept and displayed (write to to obtain a template, if needed)
  • maintain the environmental conditions in the loan agreement at all times
  • monitor items according to the schedule in the loan agreement

LAC reserves the right to:

  • inspect the condition of items at any time
  • end loans if environmental conditions are not being met or if items are considered to be at risk

Making a request

Information to include

Borrowing institutions must provide this information:

  • About the exhibition:
    • title
    • exhibition description
    • all venue locations and dates
    • staff contact information (name, title, email, telephone number)
    • information about the associated exhibition catalogue (if any)
  • Collection item information
    • title
    • artist or author
    • date
    • media
    • reference number
  • Exhibition environment:
    • floor plans of the building that identify the gallery, storage space and loading dock
    • proposed method of display (ex: framed on wall, in display case) and mounting design
    • proposed timeline (from LAC shipping the items, to the return of the items to LAC)
    • any digitization requirements, including format and resolution
    • General Facility Report
    • environmental readings for the previous year for the same months that the item will be on display (ex: readings for May to July 2020 for an item to be displayed from May to July 2021)

How to send your request

Request by email

Send the completed request information in to in one of the following formats:

  • Word (.doc or .docx)
  • Excel (.xls or .xlsx)
  • Open Office (.odt)
  • Plain Text (.txt)
  • Rich Text Format (.rtf)

PDFs will not be accepted.

Request by mail

Send the completed request information to:

Director, Exhibitions and Online Content
Library and Archives Canada
550 de la Cité Boulevard
Gatineau, Quebec, K1A 0N4

After sending your request

LAC will acknowledge your request by email within a few weeks of its receipt.

Loan agreement

Once LAC has approved a loan, a loan agreement will be emailed to you. The borrowing institution must sign the agreement and email a copy to the loans officer before LAC will loan the items.


If an institution cancels a loan, LAC may charge for the costs incurred to prepare and conserve the items up to that time.

Contact us

Contact us by email, telephone, TTY, fax or mail.

TTY (toll-free)
Mailing address

Exhibitions and Online Content
Library and Archives Canada
550 de la Cité Boulevard
Gatineau, Quebec, K1A 0N4