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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Department of Invertebrate Zoology

Sapphirina auronitens

A drawing by Giesbrecht (1892) of the Copepoda, Sapphirina auronitens Claus, 1863

Loan Policy

Many of the specimens in the Department of Invertebrate Zoology collections are available for loan. Requests that result in permanent alteration or damage to our specimens are not "Loan Requests". Please refer to the section "Requesting Specimens for Sampling, Analysis or Special Preparation" for instructions related to requesting specimens for these purposes.

Specimens may be lent for research, for identification or for formal exhibition. For research loans an eligible BORROWER must be a permanent professional research employee at a recognized academic institution (as determined by us). Loans to others (e.g., students, fellows, visitors, emeriti) must be requested on their behalf by an eligible BORROWER. Loans are shipped only to the BORROWER’S facility and may not be removed from those premises, even temporarily. The BORROWER is responsible for the proper care and timely return of specimens. Notification that a loan has been shipped may be sent to the BORROWER's supervisor, department chairman or the head of the institution. We do not make personal loans, nor do we ship loans to personal or non-institutional addresses. Specimens from the permanent, accessioned collections are not lent for classroom use. Evaluation and approval/denial of loans are governed by our collection policies and collection management procedures. All loan requests are reviewed by the Curator with the relevant collection oversight. Loan requests that involve rare, delicate or unique specimens may be referred to the Invertebrate Zoology Collection Committee (IZCC) for further review before a final decision to approve or deny the request is made. The borrower may be required to submit a formal facilities report as part of the loan application process. In making this decision we consider:

  • the historical and/or scientific importance of the specimen (especially TYPES) and the consequences of loss or damage

  • the condition of the specimen (delicate specimens will be lent only in exceptional circumstances)

  • the CITES status of the specimen(s) and whether the borrowing institution has the required COSE (Certificate of Scientific Exchange)

  • the academic qualifications of the primary borrower (responsible party)

  • the purpose of the loan and proposed uses of the specimen(s)

  • our ability to safely, legally and affordably ship the specimen to the borrower

  • the complexity of preparing and shipping the loan including shipping restrictions, permits and MTAs

  • evidence of the borrower's ability to properly maintain the specimen(s) during the term of the loan and to comply with the conditions of the loan, including the timely return of all specimens on or before the loan due date

  • evidence of adequate storage conditions and security in the areas where the specimen(s) will be stored, examined and exhibited as documented by a formal facilities report or a site visit by Department of Invertebrate Zoology staff

  • evidence of adequate oversight of students or other non-professionals who may be permitted to use, or have access to, the specimen(s)

  • evidence of the borrower's ability, willingness and intention to comply with all loan conditions and requirements including safely and legally shipping the specimen(s) back to the Smithsonian at the end of the loan period


  • Loan Frequently Asked Questions and Guidelines


    Loan Procedure

    How To Request a Loan from the Department of Invertebrate Zoology


    How To Request a Loan Extension from the Department of Invertebrate Zoology


    How To Request Permission to Sample, Analyze or Make a Special Preparation on Department of Invertebrate Zoology Specimens in Your Custody


    How To Return a Loan to the Department of Invertebrate Zoology


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