UMKC Libraries Exhibits Guidelines


Public exhibits are a valuable part of UMKC Libraries' public services outreach. They entertain, inform, educate, and, at times, promote the Libraries' information resources and services. Exhibits provide an excellent opportunity for the Libraries to engage in collaborative projects, especially with faculty members and others in the university community.

This policy defines the philosophy and goals for public exhibits throughout the Libraries, identifies responsibility for these programs, and defines acceptance guidelines and general policies. Libraries staff involved in organizing, curating, and/or mounting exhibits are deemed to be acting within the course of official duties and under the authority of the University Libraries of the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

The display of public art is an important part of providing welcoming and pleasant facilities and also enriches the Libraries' service and outreach programs. The Libraries' permanent art collection is not covered by this policy. For information about the Libraries Public Art Policy, contact the Head of Special Collections.

The Dean of the University Libraries, in consultation with the Libraries’ Programs and Exhibits Team, will be responsible for updating and revising this policy.



  • Nourish intellectual, aesthetic, and creative growth
  • Educate the university community on particular topics
  • Enhance the strategic mission and development goals of the library
  • Support university and/or library events, programs, symposia, activities, and accomplishments
  • Promote university and community relations
  • Recognize library supporters, friends, and donors


Criteria for Selection

Exhibits in the Libraries will be selected with reference to the Exhibits Policy and Goals Statements. Exhibit spaces are made available, in accordance with these Guidelines, to University and University-related departments, groups, and organizations, to student organizations registered with the UMKC Student Life Office, and to exhibitors sponsored by the Libraries.

The following criteria apply as exhibit proposals are considered, although not all exhibits will meet all criteria. The Libraries reserves the right to approve or disapprove all exhibit requests, to have final approval for the layout of the exhibit, and to make all decisions regarding length of exhibit duration, placement of the exhibit within a library, and content of publicity.

  • Educational content ranging from advanced scholarly contributions to general informational value
  • Relevance to library collections
  • Broadness of appeal of the main theme
  • Appropriateness of subject, technique, and style for intended location and audience
  • Appropriateness to special events, anniversaries, holidays, etc.
  • Relation to other events or exhibits in the community
  • Representation of an influential movement, genre, trend, or national culture
  • When the topic is controversial, an objective presentation is required
  • Does not promote the partisan political, religious, or social doctrines of any single person or group
  • Reflects vitality, originality, artistic expression, and experimentation
  • Does not promote the financial profit of any individual, organization, or commercial enterprise
  • Ease and cost of installation
  • Satisfies public safety considerations, e.g. free standing displays, hands-on exhibits, etc.
  • Exhibitor agrees to sign an exhibit proposal with the Libraries.


Exhibit Proposal Process and Forms

Process for proposing an exhibit in the UMKC Libraries

  1. Exhibitor reads University Libraries Exhibits Guidelines.
  2. Exhibitor identifies an open exhibit timeframe via the consultation with the Libraries’ Advancement Director. See Exhibit Location, Description and Use.
  3. Exhibitor completes Exhibit Proposal Form online, prints, signs, and sends copy of the proposal to the University Libraries’ Adminstrative Offices, 800 E. 51st St., MNL 212, Kansas City, MO 64110. 816.235.1531, fax 816.333.5584
  4. The Libraries’ Art and Exhibits Committee approves or rejects proposal in a timely manner, based on the Exhibit Criteria for Selection and/or schedule. Exhibitor is contacted with result.
  5. If approved, the exhibit is added to the Libraries’ calendar.
  6. At exhibit installation, the Exhibit Release Form is signed by Libraries exhibitor, sponsor and contact.
  7. Exhibit Proposal and Exhibit Release forms are retained in the Libraries’ administrative office.


Exhibit Location, Description, and Use

Suggestions for exhibits and displays in Miller Nichols Library, the Health Sciences Library, and the Dental Library are welcome. The Dean of Libraries has delegated to the Libraries’ Art and Exhibit Committee the authority to approve exhibits on behalf of the Dean of University Libraries.

Libraries events and exhibits information is located on the Libraries Web site's “News and Events” section. See the publicity section of this document for information about this and other ways to promote your exhibit.

Space not specifically designated for exhibits, such as corridors or study areas, may be considered for a temporary, special exhibit. To inquire about this type of space, contact the Libraries’ Administrative Office.

In each exhibit location, a sign will be posted informing viewers of the Libraries' exhibit policy. Sign will read: "For information about this exhibit location, please consult the Libraries Exhibits Guidelines at”



Exhibitors are solely responsible for funding all costs associated with the exhibit, including but not limited to shipping, installation, dismantling, and insurance. Exhibitors are responsible for publicity beyond that provided by the Libraries. See the publicity section of this document for more information.


Security and Insurance

Exhibits are often located in high traffic areas whose visibility reduces the likelihood of damage or theft of materials; however, UMKC Libraries takes no responsibility for the security or welfare of exhibits at any time, including during transport, installation, or dismantling. Before an exhibit is installed, exhibitors and the Libraries representative must sign a release, indemnifying UMKC from any responsibility for loss or damage. The original signed Exhibit Release Form will be retained in the unit. A copy of the Form will be sent to the Office of the Dean of University Libraries.

Insurance coverage, if needed, is the responsibility of the Exhibitor.



Exhibits must be placed so as to accommodate physical safety considerations. There cannot be loose cords or cabling; free-standing units must be secure; and ease of egress from the exhibit for emergency purposes must be assured. The exhibits must be set up so as to accommodate disability access.


Best Practices

Exhibits must be well prepared, organized, and aesthetically pleasing. In order to most effectively promote a Libraries exhibits, it is encouraged that each exhibit space is scheduled for six to twelve months in the future.

Exhibit Duration: Exhibits should have specific start and end dates, although the end date may be extended if the schedule allows. As a general rule, exhibits should be on display for three to four months, but shorter exhibit times are permissible.

Exhibit Text/Labels: Text should be word processed and printed on a high quality printer if not professionally designed and/or typeset.

  • Introductory panels and captions for individual items should be included with all exhibits
  • Typeface should be a legible font such as Times New Roman, Century, or Arial
  • Text should have contrast, such as black on white.
  • Font size should be at least 28 point for introductory text panels. For secondary text panels, 18 point is acceptable if the reader can be within 20 inches. For text that only contains a few lines of copy, 14 point is acceptable.

Exhibit Support Materials:

  • Bios, brochures and other promotional material and/or instructional materials to accompany an exhibit are optional.
  • Exhibitors are invited to create an accompanying Web site to be linked to from the Libraries' Web site's News and Events page. When applicable, exhibitors are responsible for preparing the content of the publications associated with their exhibit. Examples include: a bibliographical list of items displayed; a double sided brochure; an exhibit catalog.



  • For information to be placed on the News and Events webpage, send copies of the approved proposal to the Libraries Advancement Director.
  • Flyers, posters, handbills should contain consistent messages and should present the Libraries official logo. The Libraries' Administrative Office is available for consultation in the creation of flyers, posters, and handbills.
  • The Libraries' Administrative Office is also available for advice on media contacts.


Receptions and Exhibits Related Activities

Rooms and areas in the Libraries may be, on occasion, available for receptions and other activities (workshops, talks, demonstrations) linked to exhibits. These should be discussed with the Libraries' Administrative Office who will consult the room use policy and check the schedule to see whether a reception or other activity can be held.


Dispute Resolution

The UMKC Libraries supports academic freedom and the free expression of opinion. The Libraries will not exercise any censorship of materials that do not violate the guidelines as expressed in the University Libraries Exhibits Guidelines or local, state, or federal laws.

The UMKC Libraries subscribes to the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights as it applies to exhibit spaces and bulletin boards, specifically:

The library should not censor or remove an exhibit because some members of the community may disagree with its content. Those who object to the content of any exhibit held at the library should be able to submit their complaint and/or their own exhibit proposal to be judged according to the policies established by the library.

Challenges of a display, exhibit, or printed materials posted or displayed in a UMKC library may be sent in writing to the Dean of University Libraries. The Libraries will respond to written statements as follows:

  • The individual will be notified that UMKC Libraries has received his/her written statement of concern.
  • A review process will be conducted in a timely matter by Libraries Administration in response to an individual's statement of concern.
  • While a concern is being considered, there will be no change in the status of the display, exhibit, or printed materials.
  • Upon completion of the review process, the appropriate administrator will notify the individual of the Libraries' decision.
  • The individual may appeal the decision to the Dean of University Libraries.

These guidelines were adapted with permission from the University of Washington Libraries.


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