Living with a legacy - Managing the challenges of historic loans and lending at National Museums Scotland
National Museums cares for a collection of over 12.4 million objects and specimens, representing a vast range of collecting spread over five separate sites. The Museums' collecting history spans across 150 years, and like many long-established museums, both lending and borrowing collections have followed different processes and standards. In the year 2000, the management of loans was centralised to the collections management team who now lead the process of considering, approving and managing loans and loan renewals. In parallel, the organisation has implemented a targeted and strategic plan to manage legacy loan challenges across the collections. This case study will demonstrate, using specific examples, how National Museums Scotland has tackled such conundrums as untraceable lenders, historic loans from businesses no longer operating and historic loans made with informal or undefined terms.