What is the Importance of Art Handling in Exhibits?

Picture of an Art Museum

When planning an art exhibit, there are several things to keep in mind in terms of art handling to ensure the safety and preservation of the works on display. Some of these include: (1) climate control; (2) lighting; (3) handling and transportation; (4) insurance; (5) security; and (6) conservation.

Works of art can be sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity; make sure to maintain a stable and appropriate climate in the exhibit space. This may involve using air conditioning and humidifiers. Lighting can also have a significant impact on the condition of works; use appropriate lighting levels and types to minimize damage, such as UV-filtered lights and controlling the duration of exposure.

As far as transportation you may need crates, padding and other protective materials, as well as employing trained and experienced handlers. For security, ask whether the space has surveillance cameras, alarm systems, and/or personnel.

During the exhibit, the conservation of the works is paramount. Make sure to monitor the conditions in the gallery , avoiding overcrowding, providing information to the visitors on how to interact with the artworks, as well as having a plan in place in case of emergencies. And finally, don’t forget insurance, to protect the artworks and the space in case of accidental damage or loss.

What Should Be Included in an Art Handling Agreement?

An art handling agreement is a legal document that outlines the terms and conditions for the handling, transportation, and installation of artworks for an exhibit or other event. The agreement should include the following information: (1) identification of the parties involved; (2) description of the artworks; (3) terms of the loan; (4) handling and transportation terms; (5) insurance terms; (6) security-related provisions; (7) conservation provisions; (8) damages and responsibilities provisions; (9) dispute resolution procedures; and (10) the parties’ signatures.

Here’s a breakdown of what an art handling agreement generally contains. An at handling agreement should:

  • identify the museum or organization hosting the exhibit, the artist or copyright holder of the works, and any other parties involved in handling the artworks.
  • provide a detailed description of the artworks being handled, including the title, medium, dimensions, and any other relevant information.
  • specify the terms of the loan, including the duration of the loan, the location of the exhibit, and any restrictions on the use of the artworks.
  • outline the steps to be taken for the safe handling, packing, and transportation of the artworks, including any special equipment or materials needed.
  • specify the insurance requirements for the artworks, including the type and amount of coverage needed.
  • detail the security measures to be taken to protect the artworks,
  • include the conservation measures that will be taken to protect the artworks during the exhibit,
  • specify the responsibilities of the parties in case of damage or loss of the artworks, and the compensation to be provided.
  • include a process for resolving disputes that may arise, such as mediation or arbitration.

What Should Be Included in an Insurance Policy for a Museum Exhibit?

An insurance policy for a museum exhibit should provide coverage for the artworks on display, as well as the museum and its staff. Some key elements that should be included in the policy are: (1) property coverage; (2) liability coverage; (3) business interruption coverage; (4) exhibitor’s liability coverage; (5) coverage for special events; (6) worldwide coverage; and (7) appraisal coverage.

Property coverage covers the artworks on display in case of damage or loss due to fire, theft, vandalism, and other covered perils. It may also include coverage for transportation of the artworks to and from the exhibit. Liability coverage covers the museum and its staff in case of accidents or injuries that occur on the exhibit premises. It may also include coverage for third-party claims of copyright infringement, invasion of privacy, or defamation. Business interruption coverage covers the museum’s lost income in case of damage to the exhibit or the artworks that causes the exhibit to be closed temporarily.

Exhibitor’s liability coverage covers the museum for any damage or injury that occurs as a result of the exhibit, including injury or damage to visitors or other third parties. Coverage for special events applies if the exhibit includes any special events, such as lectures, tours or special activities, the insurance policy should include coverage for those as well. Worldwide coverage is important to have because it applies worldwide in case the artworks or artifacts are transported to other locations. Finally, it is important to have an updated appraisal of the artworks on exhibit, as this will help determine the value of the artworks and the amount of coverage needed.

EPGD Business Law is located in beautiful Coral Gables. Call us at (786) 837-6787, or contact us through the website to schedule a consultation.

*Disclaimer: this blog post is not intended to be legal advice. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney if you have any legal concerns. Contacting us through our website does not establish an attorney-client relationship.*

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Silvino Diaz

Silvino E. Diaz’s practice ranges from Civil and Commercial Litigation to Entertainment and Intellectual Property Law. Silvino has earned a reputation as one of Puerto Rico’s foremost advocates for independent musicians and artists. As a result of his sustained commitment to creative industries, he was named Professor of Intellectual Property Law at Atlantic University College (Guaynabo, PR) – the Caribbean’s leading digital arts institution – where he spearheaded the “Introduction to IP” course for both the graduate and undergraduate programs, and was appointed by the Office of the President to develop an Intellectual Property graduate curriculum, where he served until moving to Miami in 2017. He is the founder of the service known as Starving Artists, where he offers innovative business and legal counsel for artists and creatives.


*The following comments are not intended to be treated as legal advice. The answer to your question is limited to the basic facts presented. Additional details may heavily alter our assessment and change the answer provided. For a more thorough review of your question please contact our office for a consultation.

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