Outgoing Loan Program Policy

National Portrait Gallery Moratorium

The National Portrait Gallery is extending its moratorium on outgoing loans from its collection with a loan period prior to September 2024. New formal requests for objects with loan periods beginning on or after September 1, 2024, may be submitted for review.  Loan commitments previously approved and/or in process with start dates prior to September 2024 will continue to be honored. 

Please see our outgoing loan program policy below:

The National Portrait Gallery (NPG) has an active outgoing loans program. Lending objects to qualified institutions for public exhibition, educational, and scholarly purposes is an integral part of NPG’s mission to make its collections accessible to the widest possible audience

Qualified Institutions

NPG lends to fellow Smithsonian units, Smithsonian Affiliates, not-for-profit museums, institutions, and galleries for temporary exhibitions and longer-term installations of educational significance.


In order to properly process all loan requests, NPG requires a 12 month lead time from the borrower’s loan begin date. All requests should be made in writing to NPG Director Kim Sajet and include the items noted on the Borrower's Checklist

All loan requests are subject to a formal loan review process consisting of provisional approval by the NPG Loan Committee, which meets bimonthly to discuss new requests, followed by conservation approval of object stability and registrarial approval of borrowing facilities. A site visit may be required for final approval.

If approved, all loans will be:

  • for a specific purpose at one or more specified venues;
  • for a specific time period, not to exceed three years, with renewable options when appropriate;
  • documented with a completed, signed NPG outgoing loan agreement stipulating the rights and responsibilities of each party;
  • insured during the entire loan period under an all-risks, wall-to-wall policy.  NPG’s preference is to insure under the Smithsonian Institution’s (SI) insurance policy. Borrower request to insure under its own policy will be approved on a case by case basis and subject to wider Smithsonian approval;
  • credited to NPG as specified on the loan agreement;
  • in compliance with all applicable laws;
  • subject to a $200 per object loan fee; and,
  • if special consideration is granted, requests received with less than 12 months lead time may be subject to a “rush fee” of double the per object loan fee

Borrowing organizations must comply with all terms and conditions of the loan agreement, including safety and security precautions, and specified environmental requirements, typically:


  • NTE 20 footcandles (150-200 lux), unless otherwise stated in loan agreement requirements
  • No direct sun light exposure
  • RH: 45-55 %
  • Temp: 68-72°F


  • NTE 5-7 footcandles (50 lux) for maximum six months’ display, unless otherwise stated in loan agreement requirements
  • No direct sun light exposure
  • RH-40-55%
  • Temp: 65-72°F

Borrowers are prohibited from using NPG collections for private pecuniary gain.

Loaned objects may not be altered, cleaned, or repaired without prior written approval of NPG.

Photography of objects is allowed only for the purpose of recording their condition or for record installation photography. For all other uses please contact NPG Office of Rights and Reproductions at NPGRightsOffice@si.edu.

NPG reserves the right to recall object(s) on loan and to cancel a loan at NPG’s discretion.

Contact Information

For more information about NPG’s outgoing loan program please contact:

Dom DelGiudice, Exhibitions Program Specialist, DelGiudiceD@si.edu | 202-633-8289.