Focus: Plants & Fungi - Policies

Loan requests should be addressed to the appropriate Collections Manager:

Matt Von Konrat
Bryophytes and Pteridophytes
Robert Lücking
Fungi and Lichens
Christine Niezgoda
Seed Plants, Economic Botany

Regulations governing herbarium loans

versión en español

  1. Loans of Field Museum botanical specimens are made to institutions and not to individuals. The head of the borrowing institution assumes complete responsibility for the safe custody and return of the specimens. Specimens should be stored in insect-free airtight cases. They must be treated with extreme care in such a manner that will conserve them indefinitely for study in the future. Specimens should never be turned upside-down. Loans must not be removed from the borrowing institution and they may not be transferred from one institution to another without written permission and agreement of all parties concerned. Upon return, loans must be carefully packed to avoid damage during transit.
  2. Loans of specimens, including types, are made for a period of two (2) years from time of receipt, but we request that specimens be returned at the earliest opportunity. We encourage partial return of loans, especially in the case of large loans, where difficult taxa may require more time for study. Written permission is required for an extension of all loans beyond the initial two-year period.
  3. All loaned specimens must be annotated as fully as possible by the borrowing researcher. Annotations should be made on a separate slip of high quality paper or small label no larger than approximately 2.5 x 10 cm. and glued fast to the herbarium sheet. Whenever possible, annotation labels should be attached above the original label near the bottom of the herbarium sheet. White herbarium glue is preferable; rubber cement should not be used because it is not permanent. Annotation labels should be placed within boxes or plastic bags of specimens stored in that manner. Annotations should be typewritten or written with indelible ink, never with a ballpoint or felt tip pen. The borrowing researcher should clearly indicate the status of type specimens with reference to the basionym and author. If the researcher agrees with the original determination or cannot make a determination, the specimens should be so annotated. Previous annotations should not be altered, and original labels or notes must not be marked, covered or removed. No marks of any kind should be made on the herbarium sheets.
  4. Incomplete labels, especially on older specimens and mounted type photographs, can often be augmented with more complete data from duplicate sheets on loan from other institutions. We encourage researchers to provide any such additional data on a separate slip and attach it to appropriate Field Museum specimens. We would appreciate this especially when it involves adding the locality, date, collector or collection number to the specimen.
  5. Judicious dissection of specimens is normally permitted. Whenever possible, all material studied should be returned to the herbarium specimen. The removal of important elements such as flowers, fruits, leaves, wood or pollen is not permitted without prior written permission. We would appreciate having duplicate glass slides of pollen grains and copies of photographic prints resulting from studies based on our specimens.
  6. All Field Museum specimens should be cited with the accepted herbarium acronym “F” in any published listings.

We would appreciate receiving any reprints of studies based upon Field Museum specimens. These reprints will become part of our permanent botanical reprint collection. In order to fill possible gaps in the Field Museum herbarium, we would be grateful if borrowers would send us duplicate specimens from their own collections of taxa which we are lacking.

The Field Museum maintains a large collection of photographs of type specimens from European herbaria. Many of the original specimens were destroyed during World War II, making these photographs the only extant record of certain specimens. These type photographs are available for purchase or through exchange.

Field Museum Policy On Destructive Sampling

  • Permission must first be obtained from the lending institution
  • No sampling is allowed of type or historical specimens.
  • Samples may only be removed if there is adequate material on the sheet; take a sample first from packet if present
  • Each sheet must be labeled, example below: [use small print, 8 pt is fine]

    Leaf material removed for DNA analysis

    Mark P. Simmons (CS), 7/2007