Guidance for Borrowers Part 2: Exhibition Planning

2.1 Development of your vision for the exhibition
2.2 Agree location conditions and security
2.3 Sign the Loan Agreement
2.4 Plan learning and audience development programme
2.5 Plan special events
2.6 Recruit volunteer invigilators
2.7 Arrange publicity
2.8 Check copyright and reproduction
2.9 Order guides, postcards and other resource material
2.10 Pay the loan fee

2.1 Development of your vision for the exhibition

Your vision for the exhibition will be clearly articulated on the Expression of Interest Form. In order to develop your vision, consider your aims and what you are going to focus on. Please ensure that members of your committee read our Mission and Interpretation Policy which will give context for interpretation of the Collection.

Take a look at the list of works of art that you have requested, and their framed dimensions and prepare a rough plan of how and where the works will be hung. Think about how the art is going to be grouped, what story you are going to tell, and about how the pictures relate to each other. Some of the works are large and powerful, others smaller and more restrained.

For inspiration, take a look at the resources on our website.

You may want to construct a model of your exhibition space and download and print out images to envisage what the hanging will look like – they are a lot easier to move around than the real thing! Make use of the list of the works of art with their framed sizes and your cut-out shapes. It may be possible at this stage to make changes to the original list of works requested, subject to availability and approval by the Committee.

Many of the works of art are large and extremely heavy. In order to prevent damage to them or injury to personnel, they should not be handled and hung solely by volunteers. The Lead Contact/s will advise on arranging for a professional art technician to hang the items.

If the exhibition is to be held in a museum or gallery, the staff there will have the expertise to hang the pictures themselves. The extent of their involvement in the exhibition and what services they will supply must be discussed with the Lead Contact/s and the Planning Group.

A list of works of art and their framed dimensions is available from the Administrator and on the Forms and Report Templates page .

You will require a title, which will help to concentrate your ideas. And you should select a lead image from the Collection. This will appear on all your publicity, give consistency and build local awareness. This should be checked with your MMAC Management Committee Lead Contact/s.

2.2 Agree location conditions and security

Before a loan is agreed, your MMAC Management Committee Lead Contact will visit and walk through the exhibition space to look at suitability and discuss security and environmental conditions. The loan will not be agreed until the Lead Contact is satisfied that the premises meet requirements for the safety and security of the works of art, formalised in the signing of the Facilities Report.

The Lead Contact will advise on the following:

  • The security of the building: lockable windows and doors, CCTV, motion detectors or portable alarms, etc.
  • Environmental conditions: heating systems, light levels in the exhibition space(s).
  • Fixing pictures to screens: types of walls, fittings required, using temporary screens or walls, etc.
  • Care of the works of art during hanging and while on display.
  • An emergency plan.

If the exhibition is to take place in a museum or gallery, the Lead Contact will expect them to supply the required information themselves, according to national museum standards. The Lead Contact/s will liaise with the museum/gallery and the Planning Group over any conditions required by the museum/gallery.

Food and drink should not normally be allowed into the area where the art is displayed, and there must be a strict ban on smoking.

The borrower should ensure that all employees or volunteers who will be involved in the exhibition are made aware of any guidelines or recommendations from the Lead Contact/s.

Insurance information

The Collection is fully insured by Methodist Insurance. This covers all normal risks to the art, individually and collectively, in transit or on display in Britain, subject to certain conditions agreed between the MMAC Management Committee and the insurers.

In addition, the Borrower is required to have Personal Liability Insurance in place, for the protection of visitors, invigilators and any contractors who may be involved. If the exhibition is organised by a group of persons from different organisations, eg from several churches, a local hall or gallery, a local interest group or art school, they must take out Personal Liability Insurance in the name of this group, for the duration of the exhibition. This will prevent any confusion over whose responsibility it is should there be a claim.

It is the Borrower’s responsibility immediately to inform the MMAC Management Committee Lead Contact/s and the Administrator of any damage or loss to the works of art in the Collection and to take photographs of such damage.

2.3 Sign the Loan Agreement

When all the above provisions are in place and have been agreed by the MMACMC, the Lead Contact/s and the Borrower, the Administrator will issue two copies of the Loan Agreement.

The Loan Agreement is a legal document. It sets out the terms and conditions of the loan, with a list of the works of art that will be loaned. Everything in the Loan Agreement will have been discussed and agreed with the MMACMC Lead Contact/s beforehand.

Both copies of the Loan Agreement should be signed by the named representative of the Planning Group, who has the authority to sign, and countersigned by the Lead Contact/s. One copy should be returned to the Administrator.

2.4 Plan learning and audience development programme

The Planning Group is encouraged to arrange a programme of events and activities focussed on the exhibition.

Schools, colleges of further education and university students are well worth attracting, as the experience can be of great value, especially in the teaching of RE and Art. Strong contacts between teachers and organisers are very important. Interested teachers should be sent copies of Seeing the Spiritual (see 2.9 Order guides, postcards and other resource materials below for purchase information). Good advance publicity and plenty of notice is required. Schools are unlikely to be able to make use of the exhibition in the first and last weeks of term and this should be taken into consideration when the dates for an exhibition are chosen. 

The MMACMC are keen to promote the diversification of audiences for the Collection and we suggest borrowers consider families, young people and local communities to widen the reach of the Collection. We would expect that wherever possible the exhibition can be made accessible to those with disabilities. We suggest contacting local universities and exploring volunteer opportunities for students to engage with the Collection and working with local specialist groups to reach key audiences. Understanding our audiences is crucial for the future of the Collection so ensuring that you capture their feedback would help us understand how people respond to the Collection.

2.5 Plan special events

Plan your key events programme well in advance, so that speakers and spaces can be booked.

The formal opening of the exhibition should include invited guests, press and media and perhaps a ‘name’ to declare the exhibition open. All the MMAC Management Committee Members should be given the opportunity to attend the opening, via the Administrator. They may also request that specific contacts are asked to the opening, as it is an important networking opportunity for the Borrowers and the Committee. A well-publicised launch event will generate interest and encourage greater visitor numbers. Consider inviting one of the MMACMC to speak at the opening. Please submit a guest list to the Administrator, prior to the launch.

The Friends of the Methodist Modern Art Collection may wish to hold an event during the exhibition. Please ensure that the Secretary to the Friends is informed of the events programme. They will also require a report for the Newsletter, together with good quality photographs (always ensuring that permission has been granted for the use of images featuring children). We ask that you display our Friends leaflets prominently and that your training of invigilators includes encouraging visitors to join up and continue to support the Collection in this way. MMACMC requests that copies of the Friends’ Newsletter are available to guests attending the opening for no charge; thereafter sold at the retail cover price.

2.6 Recruit volunteer invigilators

Volunteers will be needed to invigilate the exhibition. This is a good way to involve churches, arts organisations and schools. Ensure that you have enough volunteers so that two people can be on duty in the exhibition space(s). Volunteers will need to be well briefed, comfortable with greeting visitors and confident in ensuring works of art are prevented from being touched or damaged. A written briefing sheet should be supplied to each volunteer and left on the reception desk. The MMACMC is able to contribute to volunteer-training. Please discuss this with your Lead Contact/s.

Please encourage volunteers to count visitors using a simple, hand-held device, and invite visitors to sign and leave their comments in a visitors’ book. Their comments will be helpful in preparing the report after the close of the exhibition.

2.7 Arrange publicity

A significant lead-in time is required for publicity information to be effectively and widely disseminated. Draw up as wide a list of contacts as possible, including press editorial and listings, local TV and radio and local art groups. Mentioning the names of well-known artists within the collection, such as Graham Sutherland, Maggi Hambling and Elisabeth Frink will draw greater attention to your publicity. It is recommended that the Planning Group open a website or Facebook page and engage with other social media.

The Planning Group will be responsible for publicity. The Friends of the MMAC can support you with your publicity through their bi-annual newsletter. Please provide quotes and information about your plans at least six months ahead of the exhibition opening. The Editor of the newsletter will be in touch with your Lead Contact to gain this information. The Methodist Church Media Office is also available to promote your exhibition and associated events. A press pack is available to guide you to write your press release - see the Forms and Reports Templates page. Timeline is important, we recommend sending out the press release about two weeks before the launch of the exhibition, which means it must be written about a month before to give enough time to be checked and signed off.

2.8 Check copyright and reproduction

The MMAC Lead Contact/s must approve all publicity material involving images from the Collection. The Borrower will be supplied with digital images, which can be used to produce posters and other publicity material. All images should be credited, and copyright acknowledged using the following format.

[Artist/title] from the Methodist Modern Art Collection © TMCP, used with permission.

Referenced images of most of the works of art are available to view on the MMAC webpages. Please note images are prohibited from being cropped and must be represented in their complete form.

Except for personal use, works of art in the Collection may not be photographed, filmed, televised, or reproduced in any form without the permission of the MMAC Management Committee, via the Lead Contact/s. Flash photography should be avoided due to the delicate nature of some of the works. Any unauthorised reproduction or use of images of the works of art will constitute an infringement of copyright.

Terms and conditions for the use of images are available on the Forms and Report Templates page.

2.9 Order guides, postcards and other resource material

The book Seeing the Spiritual: A Guide to the Methodist Modern Art Collection is available on a sale-or-return basis at a discount of 10% from Methodist Publishing (www.methodistpublishing.org.uk) and must be sold at the price established by the MMAC Management Committee. The selling price of this book has been set to be as low as possible to encourage visitors to purchase a copy. MMACMC will supply you with reference copies of the guidebook for visitors to borrow as they view the Collection on display. If the venue has a bookshop, a discount of around 33% will be available through your wholesaler.

A booklet of 24 postcards is available. The price of the booklet is £5.99, from Methodist Publishing. A selection of posters are also available for sale. The Collection’s Annual Report and Friends’ Newsletters are available on the website.

You are free to develop your own resources but existing Looking Guides are available on request.

2.10 Pay the loan fee

Refer to section 1.6 Confirm payment of the balance of the loan fee with the MMACMC Lead Contact/s on behalf of the Planning Group. This can be paid via BACS (or a cheque payable to ‘The Methodist Church Fund’).

Continue to Part 3 - Exhibition Installation

Download all 3 parts of Guidance for Borrowers as a Word document