Skip to Content

Museum Loans

Specimen Loan Information and Loan Policy

The Department of Biological Sciences’ Bob & Betsy Campbell Museum of Natural History collections have been assembled with the goal of advancing education and research on biodiversity. Administered through Clemson’s Department of Biological Sciences, our primary mission is to promote biological studies by Clemson University students and personnel through the display and preservation of specimens for course instruction and research. Museum holdings also provide opportunities to serve in education, outreach, and research beyond the university community.

To promote the best possible care of specimens, we encourage onsite use of our collection as much as possible. At the same time, we understand that this may not be practical for all proposed collection uses. Under such circumstances, loans of specimens can be considered. Polices for the consideration of loan requests have been developed in consultation with established practices at a range of accredited natural history museums (e.g. Smithsonian Institution, Field Museum, University of Kansas Museum of Natural History, University of Alaska Museum of the North). Please be aware that the use of museum specimens is an explicit acknowledgment that the user values the time, effort and expense that goes into collecting, preparing, and maintaining museum collections, and that the user supports ongoing legitimate scientific collecting efforts. The Department of Biological Sciences’ Bob & Betsy Campbell Museum of Natural History should be acknowledged in all exhibits, instruction and publications that result from the use of museum material.

Final approval of all loans rests with the museum curator, who is ultimately responsible for the safekeeping of the collections and their maintenance for continued use, and whose expertise provides the most qualified knowledge as to the scope of use that will maximize specimen utility and minimize the risk of damage. Decisions regarding approval will be based on the following criteria:

      • Educational or scientific merit and feasibility of the project.
      • Rarity of the species and representation in our collections.
      • Condition of the specimen(s).
      • Number of specimens in the request.
      • Qualifications of the investigators.
      • Status of outstanding loans.
      • Previous loan history.

Approval will not be granted for loans that involve substantive monetary profit by recipient institutions or individuals.

In general, prospective users of large numbers of specimens are encouraged to visit the collections directly. Requests for loans of large numbers of specimens (greater than 10) can be reviewed, but may require division into multiple requests for consideration in series, with each portion considered after an outstanding portion is returned.

In-house loans may be made to Clemson University personnel or students for uses where specimens remain on campus, or travel off campus for less than 48 hours. These loans should be requested as far as possible in advance with the museum curator, who will provide guidance on specimen availability, appropriate transport and security of specimens, and loan duration (typically one week or less). These terms can be stipulated on an invoice listing the specimens included in the loan.

External loans, for extended (less than 48 hours) off-campus use, including by Clemson-affiliated individuals, are made only to institutions, in care of a permanent staff member of the institution who assumes full responsibility for the use, storage and safe, prompt return of borrowed material. To request a loan, please complete a Specimen Loan Request Form and submit to the museum curator for review.

Loan requests from students must be co-signed by their major professor or other professional staff member, who thereby assumes full responsibility for the loan.

Loans may not be transferred from the borrower to another individual without prior written permission from the museum curator. Similarly, specimens may not be transported to a different address without previous approval.

Any requests for loans that would involve destructive sampling (e.g. tissue removal) will be considered on a case-by-case basis, using the criteria for loan evaluation outlined above. Special consideration will be given to specimen rarity and representation in the collections.

Contact Melissa Fuentes to arrange loans.