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Loan Requests

SPECIAL NOTICE: Because of the on going COVID-19 pandemic, no loan returns should be shipped without prior notification, and collection visits, loan requests, gifts, exchanges, etc. should be coordinated with the appropriate curatorial staff.  We appreciate your patience as we work through our backlog and any inconvenience or delays this may cause in processing your request.

Guidelines for loans from the Herbarium

The Herbarium grants loans of specimens to institutions for study by affiliated individuals. The borrowing herbarium has the responsibility for the secure custody and proper return of the specimens. Specimens may not be removed from the institution to which they were loaned without prior permission and appropriate paperwork. By accepting a loan from MICH, recipients consent to study the material according to the following guidelines:

  1. Loan requests: Address all loan requests (fungi, lichen, algae, bryophytes, and vascular plants) to The request must come from the Director of a unit or the Curator responsible for a unit. Because the loan is under the responsibility of the receiving institution, the loan must be signed for by the person authorized to take institutional responsibility for it. The Herbarium reserves the right to restrict the size of loans or to decline a loan request.   
  2. Destructive sampling: If destructive sampling for any reason is desired, the request must include this information and a detailed explanation of the sampling to be conducted. Please indicate if you require material only for DNA extraction. Permission for destructive sampling is granted on a case-by-case basis.
  3. Loan period: The normal loan period is two years unless otherwise specified; this may be extended upon request. We reserve the right to request the return of loaned material at any time.
  4. Storage while on loan: Loans must be stored in insect-proof herbarium cabinets at all times, except when being studied actively.
  5. Returning Loans: All portions of the specimen must be returned, except those tissues consumed in DNA extraction or other types of morphological studies where prior permission was given to remove material. For removal for study of any part of the specimen see our Destructive Sampling Policy.
  6. Type specimens: Most type specimens of flowering plants and gymnosperms are available for viewing at different resolutions as part of the on-line collection. We encourage researchers to use our digital images whenever possible; type specimens are available for loan only under special circumstances.
  7. Annotations: It is expected that all specimens will be annotated. All annotations and notes must be made with archival-quality ink on archival-quality paper slips and returned with the specimens. Annotations should be attached to sheets with archival-quality glue or inserted in packets or boxes. Loans must be annotated unless prior permission was given to return material without annotations.
  8. Specimen metadata: We welcome additions to the information documenting our specimens. If the specimen has been georeferenced during the course of the loan, or additional or supplemental information is available from a duplicate with more complete label data, or another source, we would greatly appreciate receiving this information, preferably in a digital spreadsheet.
  9. Loan transfers: Loans may not be transferred from the borrowing institution without the prior permission of the corresponding curator
  10. Restricted Specimens: International loans including CITES-listed taxa can only be sent to institutions listed in the CITES Register of Scientific Institutions.  Specimens containing controlled substances as defined by the US Drug Enforcement Agency and/or the State of Michigan can only be loaned to appropriately licensed institutions. 
  11. Attribution:  The University of Michigan Herbarium is to be acknowledged whenever its collections are used. Reprints or digital copies of any reports or publications resulting from their use should be provided to assist MICH in curating returned loans and documenting collection usage. These documents should not be considered a substitute for annotations in the returned loan.
  12. Disclaimer: The Herbarium makes no express or implied warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of the label data or identifications.