1) I completed and returned my loan agreement, and then had it countersigned by the museum registrar. It's exciting that the agreement included the following:
Return / Delivery Date TBD
This allows for the possibility of a sale. Makes an artist's heart go pitter patter.
2) I printed the photos; no, I don't have extra 24" x 36" prints in my closet. This was a learning experience in and of itself. I went to a photo lab in my area and though they print for such high-end clients as Louis Viutton, the lab staff were very nice working with me on my comparatively teeny project. They even let me go into the back of the lab (which was very cool). I selected pearl metallic paper so that the shell interiors in the photos would seem opalescent. I think it worked.
3) The museum requested that each artwork be backed with something that was at least 4-ply. For those who don't know, that's the minimum thickness of mat board. I went to a framing gallery for the mat board; I also chose to put a tiny piece of artist tape at the back corners of each photo to keep them from sliding about.
4) Each photo had to be either wrapped in clear plastic or in a plastic sleeve. I opted for a plastic sleeve, but who knew you can only get sleeves for 24" x 36" photos in packs of 100? No one sells them individually, or in packs of 10. I had no idea how pricey they were and helps to explain why photographs are expensive. The expense of supplies certainly has to be taken into account. It looks like I'm going to have to build up my multi-size sleeve supply. They're surprisingly heavy, too.
5) I inserted the photos into sleeves which sounds simple, but it's a delicate and slightly time-consuming task. You have to take care not to twist the sleeve since that might bend or warp the mat board, distorting the photo. It's also no good to rush and tear the plastic.
6) To protect the photos in transit and for the time before the show, I sandwiched them between foam core cut to size (given to me by the photo lab) and wrapped them in craft paper.
7) When I delivered my photographs to the museum, I was pleased to hear they were prepared as expected and they appreciated that I had included the foam core. Whew -- music to my ears. The prep work was worth it.