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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 Gallery.

The Rotch Library Gallery focuses on interdisciplinary arts practices, works that push creative intellectual boundaries, and support research. Some topics include but are not limited to architecture, art, photography, design, urban planning, housing, community development, geography, globalization and the environment. The space is also a venue for curriculum-based shows and encourages student exhibits. It is open to the MIT community of faculty, students, and staff; including members of their immediate families and sponsored affiliates. Exhibitions proposed by individuals or groups not affiliated with MIT will be considered, based on availability and content. Potential off campus exhibitors, review the MIT Covid Visitor’s Policy.

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

General Information

  • Exhibitors are responsible for installing and de-installing their exhibitions. The Rotch Library Gallery Manager may provide suggestions or best practices based on previous installations.
  • All installing and 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 web site for deadlines and further information. Rotch Library and the MIT Libraries do not financially support exhibits or exhibit receptions.
  • Exhibitors may wish to include an accessible price sheet and contact information 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 Gallery web page and may also be featured on the Libraries’ news site 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 several exhibits year round. To accommodate this, the minimum length of an exhibit is one month and the maximum length is three months. Although, exceptions can be made at the discretion of the Rotch Library Gallery Manager.
  • Periodically, Exhibitors may be contacted by the Rotch Library Gallery Manager to engage MIT community exhibit visitors in dialogue through a tour of the exhibition.

Exhibit Spaces

  • The Rotch Library Gallery includes wall space, large-scale panels in the reading room, 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 upon request, which will be considered on a case by case basis.
  • 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 Americans with Disabilities (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. 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.


  • Rotch Library Gallery 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 Library Gallery Manager; responses will be delivered within two weeks of receiving the proposal. This communication may include a request for more information / clarification and/or changes.
  • Individuals or groups may propose exhibits using library materials.

Proposal Process

Fill out the Rotch Library Gallery 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 Library Gallery Manager at least 60 days in advance.
  • All details of the reception must be shared with the Rotch Library Gallery Manager at least 30 days in advance of the reception at the risk of cancellation. Necessary details include plans and logistics for food and beverages. (See MIT Covid Policies.)
  • 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 etc.) 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. (See MIT Covid Policies.)
  • 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