Policy Statement


The purpose of the University of Montana Paleontology Center (UMPC) is to collect, preserve, interpret, and utilize fossils for research, exhibition, and education; in order to enhance knowledge and delight in the natural sciences and promote research in paleontology.


The UMPC is a repository for state and federal fossils. It acquires new fossils by means of donations, permanent loans, and by field excavation by staff, students, and associates. All specimens are acquired in a manner that complies with the laws and regulations of their place and country of origin, including jurisdictions of the state and federal government of the United States. This includes obtaining a valid paleontological collecting permits, as well as permits for the import and export of fossils. The UMPC makes every effort to assure that the standards of collecting ethics are followed and will accept donations of fossils only if the provider presents proof that the specimen(s) were collected legally. Fossils purchased by the UMPC for education and research are done so with every effort to follow national standards of paleontological ethics and regulations. A statement issued jointly by the Paleontological Society and the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology concerning the regulation of fossil collecting is available at: http://vertpaleo.org/The-Society/Governance-Documents/SVP-Hails-Passage-of-Fossil-Preservation-Bill.aspx. The UMPC does not engage in bartering or selling nor does it provide appraisals or assessments of monetary value of fossils. The acquisition of fossil plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates for the UMPC is aimed at strengthening the current holdings and broadening specific areas of growth in support of research. For more information concerning the regulation of fossil collecting see the Paleontology Ethics page of the Science Education Resources Center (SERC) website at Carlton College.

Collection Access

The UMPC provides electronic and physical access to collection and exhibits for education and research during regular business hours of the University. Physical access is permitted in response to written/verbal research inquiries or general paleontological questions and will lend specimens to institutions or their representatives for research, educational, or exhibition purposes. The UMPC encourages the scientific and public community to utilize the electronic collections data base. The UMPC screens data on specific site locations and this information is not available to the general public. Specific site information is provided through written/verbal request at the discretion of the curator and collections manager.

For security, the Curator authorizes access and the Collections Manager facilitates this access, including key-code check out. Information generated from the UMPC research collection specimens is the property of the Museum. All users of this information are required to acknowledge the UMPC as the source, whether information is obtained from specimens or from archives in print or in electronic format.

The archives contain many types of records that are associated with the collections. These records are in the form of field notes, correspondence, photographs, books, maps, publications, electronic media, and manuscripts. Since the original documents have historical and legal importance, use and access is restricted. Only under special circumstances will the original documents be loaned. Otherwise, the materials may be studied on site or paper/electronic copies can be made at the expense of the visitor/borrower.


The UMPC will make loans of fossil specimens in support of research endeavors to qualified researchers, professionals, and institutions at the discretion of the Curator and Collections Manager. Loans may be made for students engaged in research projects if their academic advisor takes direct responsibility for the loan and signs the loan agreement. Type specimens are loaned for periods up to 6 months and other specimens are loaned for periods up to one year. Extension of loans for additional months may be granted by the Curator/Collections Manager upon receipt of a written request. Reasons for extensions of type specimens should be discussed in person or over the phone. No loan can exceed 5 years (except a permanent transfer). However, exceptions to the loan period can be made by the curator.

Prior to requesting any loans, please consult the collection database for our current holdings. More detailed inquiries, specific data inquiries, and questions concerning specimens in our backlog can be directed to the Collections Manager. Email is the preferred method of communication.

Ideally, Users will provide the UMPC a hard copy or PDF reprint of publications and other pertinent information that result from the use of UMPC specimens. These can be mailed or emailed to any member of the curatorial or professional staff.  Please be aware that the number, diversity, and quality of the publications that our collections contribute to are critical for our records. These data are used to justify the continued funding of the collection, as well as aid our attempts to fund improvements to the collection and its associated databases. In exchange for loaning these specimens for research, we may also call on you to provide verbal or written support of scientific collecting and our collections.

Requests for specimen loans must contain the following information:

  • brief summary of the proposed research with sufficient detail to allow us to assess its scientific merit
  • number of and identity of specimens desired
  • confirmation that you have proper conditions for the handling of museum specimens (e.g., archival materials, secure storage facilities)
  • assurance that you have (or have access to) proper packing equipment/supplies.

Destructive sampling, invasive procedures (e.g., clearing and staining), and replicating are strictly prohibited for these loans without prior permission from the staff of the UMPC. That being said, we welcome you to approach us about your needs for invasive procedures; we just need to approve the procedures beforehand.

Please be aware that by agreeing to receive UMPC specimen loans, the Borrower is agreeing to abide by the rules set forth below and on the loan invoice/policies form.



  • Materials will be handled by experienced personnel and be given proper care to insure against loss and damage
  • There are no special requirements for exhibiting and handling, unless otherwise stated on the front of this form. 
  • The UMPC is to be notified immediately, followed by a full written and photographic report, if damage or loss is discovered.
  • Destructive sampling, invasive procedures, or replicating are strictly prohibited without prior permission from the UMPC.
  • Materials must be maintained in a fireproof/secure building and protected from environmental hazards. 


  • Packing and transportation shall be by safe methods agreed upon by both parties.
  • Unpacking and repacking will be done by experienced personnel under competent supervision. 
  • Repacking will be done with the same or similar materials and by the same methods as the materials were received. 
  • Initial shipping costs are the responsibility of the UMPC.  Return costs are the responsibility of the Borrower. 


  • Materials shall be insured during the period of this loan for the value started on the face of this agreement by the Borrower under an all-risk-wall-to-wall policy subject to the following standard exclusions. 
  • Coverage extends to include in transit and off-site locations per a Risk Management Office. 
  • In the case of long-term loans, insurance values and premiums may be reviewed periodically; the Borrower reserves the right to increase coverage and/or premiums.
  • Any lapses in such coverage will not release the Borrower from liability for loss or damage. 



  • All material shall be credited courtesy of the UMPC in the format provided on the face of this contract, both for display labels and publication credits. 
  • The Borrower may produce digital images (e.g., photograph, 3D scan) of objects lent, which may be used for cataloging, routine non-commercial education uses, and publicity.  The UMPC requests a copy of any digital image created.
  • A PDF reprint or hard copy of publications referring to the UMPC collections should be sent to the Collections Manager.
  • Photographing/scanning for commercial purposes is prohibited.
  • Permissions for reproduction of such photographs/scans must be obtained in advance and are for one-time use only.


  • Objects on loan will be returned to the UMPC in satisfactory condition by the stated termination date. 
  • Any extension of the loan period must be approved in writing by both parties. 
  • Material loaned to the Borrower will not be transferred to a third party without written consent of the UMPC. 
  • The UMPC has the right to recall or cancel the loan at any time for good cause and will make an effort to give reasonable notice thereof. 


Government regulation will be adhered to in international shipments.  Unless otherwise stated in writing, the borrower is responsible for adhering to its country’s import/export requirements.  The borrower will protect objects from possible damage during its customs inspections and will make every effort to ensure that the customs examinations are made only on the borrower’s premises.  If the nature of the material to be exported falls within the types addressed by the UNESCO Convention, its status in the importing country should be verified before this loan agreement is signed by the borrower.  The UMPC requires a declaration of immunity from seizure if available.  The provisions of this loan agreement are subject to the doctrine of force majeure.  If U.S. Government Indemnity is secured, the amount payable by indemnity is the sole recover available to the UMPC in event of loss or damage, and objects will be insured in U.S. dollars at their value as of the application date.  Current fluctuations affecting value of claims at a later date are not recognized under indemnity.

By signing the loan agreement, the loanee agrees to return the borrowed specimen(s) upon written/verbal request by the UMPC. If the loanee fails to respond or return loaned material after requests for the specimens to be returnal, the UMPC may take legal actions to effect the return. In such a case the loannee agrees to pay the required legal costs.

Image Usage

The UMPC will also provide images of specimens for publication or display. Fees are based on the requester’s intuition and how the image will be used.  All requests must be submitted to the UMPC staff and the applicant agrees to abide by all terms, conditions, and provisions in the agreement.

Conditions of Use

-        Permissions for reproduction is granted for one time use, and only for the expressed purpose(s) described in this application.  This permission is non-exclusive.  Any subsequent use (subsequent editions, other media, etc.) constitutes the reuse and must be applied for in writing.  Any change in use from that stated on the application requests permission, and an additional fee may be charged for that reuse.

-        In the event the applicant engages in unauthorized reproduction of materials, the applicant agrees to pay the University of Montana a sum equal to three times the normal commercial use fee and not less than $50, not as a penalty but as liquidated damages agreed upon due to the difficulty in assessing actual damages incurred.

-        The publisher or researcher agrees to send the University of Montana Paleontology Center a copy of the publication(s) containing the image(s) / item(s) used.  In the case of motion pictures, slideshows, videos, or any other such work, the publisher undertakes to send still photographs or photocopies of the title frame and frame showing picture credits.

-        If non-profit, the User certifies that all funds it collects from fees, charges, royalties or other income from its use of the material obtained from the University of Montana Paleontology Center shall be sued for non-profit purposes.

-        If permission is granted to distribute any image copy electronically, the distributed copy shall not exceed a display or print resolution greater than VGA screen resolution (72 dots per inch, or 640 x 480 pixels), and must include a visible statement that discourages unauthorized use.

-        All reproductions must include a credit line, as follows:

[UMPC specimen number], University of Montana Paleontology Center

                  Credits should appear in close proximity to the image or in a special section devoted to credits. 

If there are design limitations, an edited credit line will be approved by staff of the University of Montana Paleontology Center and the changes noted here:


-        Payment of a use fee does not exempt the user from the credit line requirement.  Failure to include a credit line shall require the applicant to pay $100 per image (or per second) as liquidated damages and not as penalty in view of the difficulty of assessing actual damages for this breach.

-        The University of Montana Paleontology Center reserves the right to refuse any order for reproductions which it feels might damage the original specimen.  The decision to allow reproduction of the University of Montanan Paleontology Center’s holdings rests solely with the curator responsible for that material.