The Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Scheme provides legal protection for cultural objects on loan from overseas lenders for temporary public exhibition in Australia.

How it works

Who can apply
Borrowing institutions, including museums, galleries, libraries and archives, established by Commonwealth, state or territory law can apply. Borrowing institutions may also apply, if eligible, to be prescribed in Regulation.
When to apply
Applications can be submitted at any time.
Funding available
N/A

Program Information

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About The Program

The Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Scheme (the Scheme) provides legal protection for cultural objects on loan from overseas lenders for temporary public exhibition in Australia. This protection is often called 'immunity from seizure and suit'. It limits the circumstances in which lenders, exhibiting institutions, exhibition facilitators and people working for them can lose ownership, physical possession, custody or control of objects while on loan to an approved Australian institution.

Approved borrowing institutions must demonstrate they have the necessary expertise, rigor, capacity and resources to meet the responsibilities established by the Scheme. Objects imported into Australia by approved borrowing institutions for temporary exhibition will automatically be protected for up to two years from the date they are imported into Australia. Institutions are approved for up to five years and can apply for re-approval.

Since it began in 2014, the Scheme has protected cultural objects shown in more than 85 exhibitions and displays, some of which travelled to multiple venues across Australia. These exhibitions were seen by more than 15 million people. In 2020–21 fourteen exhibitions were shown under the Scheme, and featured themes ranging from Viking culture, to art, shipwrecks and motorcycles. The exhibitions attracted close to 700,000 visitors, even though many museums and galleries were closed for extended periods to comply with public health orders.

How to apply

It is recommended that you read the guidelines published below and contact us to find out more information before applying to the Scheme. Institutions eligible to become approved borrowing institutions can apply at any time. To submit an application, please use the following link: https://arts.smartygrants.com.au/PCOL2223.

Extensions to the period of protection

Objects imported under the Scheme are protected for up to two years from the date of importation. However, the Minister for the Arts, or their delegate, may extend this time period if the approved borrowing institution makes a case for an extension due to exceptional circumstances.

A request for an extension to the period of protection must be made in writing to the Office for the Arts and include an explanation of the circumstances for the extension. It must be received at least six weeks prior to the end of the protection period to ensure adequate time for approval. If this timeframe cannot be met please contact the Program Officer (details below) as soon as possible.

Approvals for extensions are provided to the institution in writing and published on this website. Current approvals are listed below. Please click on the link/s for more details.

Contact

The Program Officer
Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Scheme
Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications
Office for the Arts
GPO Box 594
Canberra ACT 2601

Phone: 02 6271 1385
Email: ProtectionofLoans@arts.gov.au

Approved borrowing institutions

The following borrowing institutions are currently approved under the Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Act 2013 for the periods specified.

Name of Institution Dates of approval Conditions of approval
National Gallery of Australia 28 February 2018 to 27 February 2023 No conditions
National Library of Australia 27 April 2018 to 26 April 2023 No conditions
National Museum of Australia 20 August 2020 to 19 August 2025 No conditions
National Gallery of Victoria 24 September 2020 to 23 September 2025 No conditions
Western Australian Museum 11 November 2020 to 10 November 2025 No conditions
Art Gallery of New South Wales 16 March 2021 to 15 March 2026 No conditions
Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences 24 August 2021 to 23 August 2026 No conditions
Queensland Museum 2 December 2021 to 1 December 2026 No conditions
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery 2 May 2022 to 1 May 2027 No conditions
Museums Victoria 7 July 2022 to 6 July 2027 No conditions
Australian Museum 11 August 2022 to 10 August 2027 No conditions
Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art 13 August 2022 to 12 August 2027 No conditions

The following borrowing institutions were previously approved under the Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Act 2013 for the periods specified.

Name of Institution Dates of approval Conditions of approval
National Museum of Australia Previous approval: 19 August 2015 to 18 August 2020 No conditions

 

National Gallery of Victoria Previous approval: 19 May 2015 to 18 May 2020 No conditions
Western Australian Museum Previous approval: 23 November 2015 to 22 November 2020 No conditions
Art Gallery of New South Wales Previous approval: 29 March 2016 to 28 March 2021 No conditions
Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences Previous approval: 24 August 2016 to 23 August 2021 No conditions
Queensland Museum Previous approval: 2 December 2016 to 1 December 2021 No conditions
Museums Victoria Previous approval: 26 June 2017 to 25 June 2022 No conditions
South Australian Museum Not currently approved
Previous approval: 24 August 2016 to 23 August 2021
No conditions
Australian Museum Previous approval: 11 August 2017 to 10 August 2022 No conditions
Queensland Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art Previous approval: 13 August 2017 to 12 August 2022 No conditions

Relevant Documents

Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Scheme Annual Report—2020–2021

Published 17th Sep 2021

Download PDF (397.51 KB) Download DOC (161.53 KB)
Borrowing institutions approved under the Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Act 2013 (the Act) are required to report annually by providing information on objects that have been or are proposed to be imported into Australia for temporary public exhibition and protected under Part 2 of the Act. Annual reports for the preceding financial year are due to the Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts by 31 October each year, therefore reports should be submitted to the Office for the Arts by no later than 6 October each year.

Relevant Documents

Guidance for lenders—Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan

Published 8th Aug 2019

Download PDF (254.56 KB) Download DOC (98.58 KB)
The Act establishes a Scheme to protect cultural objects on loan from overseas from seizure whilst in Australia for temporary exhibition.

Relevant Documents

Protection of cultural objects on loan scheme guidelines

Published 21st Aug 2017

Download PDF (1006.04 KB) Download DOC (806.55 KB)
The Act supports the future of international cultural exhibitions in Australia. It establishes a Scheme to protect Australian and foreign cultural objects on loan from overseas for temporary public exhibition. This legislation addresses a significant obstacle that Australia’s major cultural institutions have faced in securing international loans and aligns Australia with an international standard to provide protection for those loans.

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