Rotch Library Exhibition Guidelines

  • The Rotch Library exhibition space is open to MIT affiliates (students, student groups, staff, faculty, alumni). All exhibit proposals are subject to approval by the exhibit committee.
  • Exhibitions proposed by individuals or groups not affiliated with MIT will be considered, based on availability and content. Guest curators are encouraged to propose exhibits using library materials (see below).
  • Possible exhibition themes include: Architecture, history and design; Cities, Urban life, Housing, Community Development; Art, including photography, painting, sculpture, installations, video; Historic Preservation; Design; Geography, Maps, Globalization; Environment; Visual Language and Literacies.
  • Between 4 and 6 exhibits are held year round.  Minimum length of an exhibit is one month; maximum length is three months.
  • Please contact with any questions.

General Information

  • Grants are available from the Council of the Arts at MIT. Check their web site for deadlines and further information.
  • Exhibits may be featured on the Libraries’ news blog and other social media channels,  as appropriate.  Exhibitors are encouraged to do their own marketing.
  • Exhibitors are responsible for installing/de-installing their exhibitions during library hours. Please be mindful of others studying and working in the space around you.
  • Exhibitors may wish to include a price sheet with the exhibit. The library staff is not responsible for sales of exhibited items.
  • There is some electrical access in the gallery area, but Rotch Library is unable to support audio components in an exhibit.
  • Rotch Library assumes no responsibility for the security or welfare of exhibits at any time, including during transport, installation, or dismantling.

Exhibit Spaces:

  • The main exhibition space is approximately 400 square feet, with approximately 25 linear feet of wall space. The walls are 7.5 feet high.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Exhibitors may be permitted to use other spaces within the library (including the reading room columns).
  • Please note that the above dimensions are approximate and exhibitors are advised to view and measure the space ahead of time. Exhibitors can request one or all of the available exhibition spaces.

Guest Curators – using Library materials

  • Guest Curators are students, faculty, and staff who propose and curate an exhibition that brings together MIT Libraries materials, including print-based items, such as books, maps, or pamphlets, and images or other visual materials.
  • All proposed library items, whether they circulate or not, must be approved by the exhibits committee prior to the exhibition. Guest curators must also meet with curator committee members to finalize an exhibit plan, including labeling.
  • Guest Curators are encouraged to consider selecting items from the Rotch Limited Access Collection of rare and unique materials.  The Libraries Conservator will review each selected item and recommend best practices for display.  In some cases, because of its fragility, an item may not be available for the exhibit.
  • Texts used in promotion of the exhibit are subject to revision by the exhibition committee.  Exhibits will be promoted by the Exhibition Committee (see General Information above).
  • Guest Curators provide curatorial services without reimbursement.

Two-step proposal process:

  1. Fill out the Rotch Exhibition Proposal Form
  2. Submit one or more images of work to:

Reception information (if applicable):

  • Receptions must be scheduled during library open hours.
  • Exhibitors take full responsibility for their receptions.
  • A table will be provided by the library.
  • The serving of alcohol is not permitted.
  • 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.

Check out past exhibits at Rotch Library.