Brown University Herbarium Collection policies

The Brown University Herbarium collections are available to legitimate researchers for scholarly use. Loans are issued to responsible individuals at established institutions. Loans and access to the collection can be arranged through the collections manager (Tim Whitfeld), administrative curator (Kath McCauley), or herbarium director (Erika Edwards).

Visitor policy:

Visiting researchers are welcome at the Brown University Herbarium. If you wish to bring material for comparison please make arrangements ahead of time so your collections can be frozen in time for your visit.

Material must not be removed from herbarium specimens without prior written consent. Any loose material should be put into packets available from curatorial staff. Please leave annotation label information with a member of staff including generic name and specific epithet, authority, annotator’s name, and date. For type specimens, we also request that the basionym and place of publication. Annotation labels will be generated and attached by herbarium staff. Annotated sheets will also be processed and re-filed by herbarium staff.

Loan policy:

Except under exceptional circumstances, the Brown University Herbarium loans to institutions, not individuals. Researchers without a formal affiliation should make arrangements to have specimens sent to a nearby facility, with their permission. Loan requests should be made in writing to the Brown University director (Erika Edwards) or collections manager (Tim Whitfeld). Requests should include the following information: the purpose of the loan, a description of the material requested with as much detail as possible including possible nomenclatural synonyms, where and under whose responsibility the specimens will be housed while on loan.

Loans are made for a period of one year and may not be forwarded or transferred to another individual or institution without written consent from the Brown University Herbarium. If additional time is required, an extension may be requested. While on loan, specimens should be stored securely according to currently accepted herbarium standards. All herbarium sheets should be returned with a properly attached annotation label with the name of the investigator, institution, and date. No marks may be made on the sheets themselves and existing labels, notes, etc., must not be removed, covered or in any way defaced. Copies of publications based upon our collections are requested. For large or complicated requests, we encourage researchers to visit the Brown Herbarium (using their own funds) to select the specimens required. 

Materials for palynological, anatomical, or molecular studies must not be removed from any specimens without obtaining prior permission (see “Destructive sampling policy”). Specimens from the Brown University Herbarium may, at some time, have been chemically treated to deter insect infestations. Specimens should be handled with appropriate care.

Destructive sampling policy:

Given the historical nature of the BRU collections, decisions concerning destructive sampling are made on a case-by-case basis. Material may not be taken from BRU specimens without prior consent and is for non-commercial use only. Please send a formal written request from your director or collections manger that details what is required, who is making the request, the type of research, and an estimate of how much material is required. Samples can only be removed when there is adequate material on a sheet and loose material from packets should be sampled first. Except in rare circumstances, material should not be removed from type specimens or from species that are represented in the collections by less than 3 specimens.

Specimens that have been sampled should be annotated as such with an indication of what material was taken, the type of study, the researcher’s name and institutional affiliation, the date and specimen ID, plus GenBank or other accession numbers. Resulting publications should acknowledge the Brown University Herbarium.

Specimens from the Brown University Herbarium may, at some time, have been chemically treated to deter insect infestations. Specimens should be handled with appropriate care.

Permission to publish images:

Publication or redistribution of images associated with the Brown University Herbarium requires written consent of the collections manager or herbarium director. Requests should be made in writing.