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Rotch Library Exhibition Information and Procedures

The arts are essential to MIT’s mission to build a better society and meet the challenges of the 21st century. To support the arts at MIT, the Libraries hosts a variety of exhibitions and displays throughout the year at our gallery and exhibit spaces, the Maihaugen Gallery and the Rotch Library Exhibition space.

The Rotch Library Exhibition space focuses on architecture, art, photography, design, urban planning, housing, community development, geography, globalization and environmental topics. The space is open to the MIT community of faculty, students, and staff; including members of their immediate families and sponsored affiliates.

The following information guides use and expectations to all users of the Rotch Library Exhibition space:

General Information

  • Exhibitors are responsible for installing/de-installing their exhibitions. The Rotch Exhibits Team may provide suggestions or best practices based on previous installations.
  • All installing/de-installing should be done during library hours. When completing this work, please be mindful of MIT Community members using the space.
  • Rotch Library assumes no responsibility for the security or welfare of exhibits at any time, including during transport, installation, or dismantling.
  • If the exhibitor needs financial support to stage the exhibit, grants are available from the Council of the Arts at MIT. Check their website for deadlines and further information. Rotch Library and the MIT Libraries do not financially support exhibits or exhibit receptions.
  • Exhibitors may wish to include a price sheet with the exhibit if any items are for sale. Rotch Library and the MIT Libraries are not responsible for sales of exhibited items.
  • Exhibit information will be posted to the Rotch Library Exhibit web page and may also be featured on the Libraries’ news blog and other social media channels. Exhibitors are encouraged to do their own marketing as well.
  • To properly showcase the artist’s work, Rotch Library hosts between 4 and 6 exhibits year round. To accommodate this, the minimum length of an exhibit is one month and the maximum length is three months.

Exhibit Spaces

  • The Rotch Library exhibit spaces include gallery wall space, large-scale panels on the reading room walls, and two display cases (one in the reading room and a smaller one at the library’s entrance). Exhibitors may be permitted to use other spaces within the library, including the reading room columns. Requests will be considered individually.
  • The main exhibition space is a gallery wall of approximately 400 square feet, with approximately 25 linear feet of wall space. The walls are 7.5 feet high. Limited use of floor space is permitted due to foot traffic through the space and ADA requirements.
  • Large-scale panels in the reading room are 96” tall and 72” wide.
  • The Rotch Library Reading room display case contains three shelves that are 97” wide x 26” high x 23” deep. The case has glass doors that lock and is within the library, which is locked and alarmed after business hours.
  • The Rotch Library entrance display case contains three shelves that are 48″ wide x 7.5″ deep. The bottom shelf is 18.5″ high (to the light) and the top two shelves are 12.5″ high (to the light). The case has glass doors that lock, but it is located outside of the library and is not alarmed after business hours.
  • The above dimensions are approximate and exhibitors are advised to view and measure the space ahead of time.
  • There is some electrical access in the gallery area, but Rotch Library is unable to support audio components in an exhibit due to the impact on users in the space.
  • Exhibitors can request one or all of the exhibition spaces.


  • The Rotch Library exhibition space is open to the MIT community of faculty, students, and staff; including members of their immediate families and sponsored affiliates. All exhibit proposals are subject to approval by the Rotch Exhibits Team; responses will be delivered within two weeks of receiving the proposal.
  • Exhibitions proposed by individuals or groups not affiliated with MIT will be considered, based on availability and content.
  • Possible exhibition themes include but are not limited to: Architecture, history and design; Cities, Urban life, Housing, Community Development; Art, including photography, painting, sculpture, installations; Historic Preservation; Design; Geography, Maps, Globalization; Environment; Visual Language and Literacies.
  • Individuals or groups may propose exhibits using library materials and should denote this when filling out the Rotch Exhibition Proposal Form.

Proposal Process

Fill out the Rotch Exhibition Proposal Form, including at least one image of your work.

Reception Information (if applicable)

  • In order to accommodate a reception, the dates and times must be approved with the Rotch Exhibits team at least 60 days in advance.
  • All details of the reception must be shared with the Rotch Exhibits team at least 30 days in advance of the reception at the risk of cancellation. Necessary details include plans and logistics for food and beverages.
  • Receptions must be scheduled during business hours, Monday through Friday.
  • To minimize disruption to users of the Rotch Library, receptions must take place within the gallery space, even if the exhibition incorporates reading room spaces.
  • Furniture cannot be moved for a reception. Exhibitors should request furniture (eg: tables or high-tops for food) in advance.
  • The serving of alcohol is not permitted.
  • Finger food and non-alcoholic beverages are allowed, as long as all details are managed by the exhibitor and the food/beverage does not leave the gallery space or violate the Libraries’ Food and Beverage Policy.
  • Due to noise concerns and fire code restrictions, reception attendance should be fewer than 30 persons at all times. Rotch Library will post signs alerting patrons of the reception, but reserves the right to ask exhibitors to quiet their receptions if the noise is impacting use of the space for MIT Community members.
  • Exhibitors will serve as the point-person and take full responsibility for their receptions. Exhibitors must provide a phone number at which they can be reached throughout the reception, in case of emergencies.
  • Clean-up following receptions, including the removal of trash, is the responsibility of the exhibitors and must be completed by closing time of the library.

If you have a question about something not covered by these guidelines, please contact