The Humanities Exchange
Checklist for Organizing International Exhibitions
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Checklist for Organizing International Exhibitions
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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 following 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 quoted in what currency -- this is important in times of fluctuating currency values.
  • Indication if there will 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 if any conservation is required during the itinerary who is responsible, etc.
  • No conservation to be undertaken without approval of lenders.
  • Any special handling requirements or installation needs.
  • Special requirements for lighting, temperature, humidity.
  • Design concept of the installation of the exhibition is whose responsibility. Necessity for special display equipment, e.g. showcases, display panels, etc.
  • Borrowing institution may omit objects from showings 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.


  • 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. 


2840 West Bay Drive, # 250, Largo, FL 33770 USA