projects/exhibits in public spaces

public projects/ exhibits are encouraged

Exhibits and projects in public areas are encouraged at MIT. With appropriate planning, most projects can be installed/exhibited as proposed/designed. Only a small number of projects need to be modified. The Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) office will suggest ways you can modify your plans so you can safely install and display your exhibit or project. Included is information about the following:

the approval process

  • Allow time to make adjustments to your design. Have a second choice for a location in case you cannot use your first choice.
  • Certain types of projects may need to be reviewed by EHS, Facilities, Insurance, Police, and SEMO (the Security and Emergency Management Office). Submit your proposal well in advance to allow adequate time for review.
  • Generally, the day before and the day of Commencement are off limits. To request an exception, submit the request 3 weeks in advance to email hidden; JavaScript is required [1] The Commencement Committee will make the final decision. Plan to be constantly at the project and not to leave it set up overnight. Certain types of projects may not be allowed if tighter security is in effect. A similar approval process will be followed for other high profile events.
  • If the project owner does not have a professor/supervisor who is sponsoring the project, approval may be contingent upon finding a sponsor or a more appropriate space for a personal project.


steps to request approval

  1. Copy the EHS Project Review Form [2] and paste it into an email message. Fill in the project description and safety information.
  2. Email the form to one space administrator [3] at a time.
  3. If the space administrator has any concerns, they can deny the request or they may ask their EHS coordinator and/or EHS Office for advice and may give the project owner approval contingent upon the safety review. The space administrator makes the decision about how long the project can be in their space. Refer to the last section to avoid being charged.
  4. Once the space administrator has approved your proposal, send it to email hidden; JavaScript is required [1]; Safety Program and SEMO will review the project. If you have not received a reply within 48 hours (not counting weekends and holidays), please resend your request to email hidden; JavaScript is required [4] or call the EHS Office at x2-3477.
  5. If the safety issues are complicated, Safety Program will make an appointment to discuss the project with the owner.
  6. Approval of certain types of projects may be contingent upon the safety plan being reviewed by EHS and then approved by Facilities, Insurance, and Police.
  7. The space administrator may require additional safeguards and assurances that the safety plan will be adhered to. These must by added to the safety plan. The updated plan must be resubmitted to the space administrator and EHS.
  8. When all the approvals/reviews are completed, both the exhibitor and professor/supervisor will sign the final approval form.
  9. Final approval has to be posted on or next to the project, on each floor, on each side, etc so MIT Police and others can immediately check it, especially if the project is in an open stairway or atrium.
  10. If the project changes significantly and this creates safety and/or security issues, contact EHS and/or MIT Police immediately.

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resources to determine who owns the space you want to use

locations that are off limits

The use of exit stairways, elevators, roofs of buildings, MIT art & sculptures, and the MIT Chapel (W15) are PROHIBITED. Alternative locations for proposed “roof projects” include the top level of a parking garage, the Stata roof gardens, and event space on Baker House.

no working alone

Plan how you will safely build, install, and break down your project. If you are doing a project by yourself, the review process will determine if there is a risk of injury. If so, you will be asked to schedule people to assist you.

enclosure required

Electronics (circuit boards, speakers, LEDs, power generating devices, and the wiring) have to be in a box that is clearly labeled.

ada compliance

To protect people who are visually impaired, projects can only protrude into the walkway 4 inches or less. An option is to put your project on a pedestal or plinth. Refer to the ADA diagram [6].

tape and adhesives

Adhere projects to the wall, floor, window, etc so it doesn’t damage the surface or require special cleaning to remove the adhesive. Facilities prohibits the use of Duct tape. Options include Wall Mounting Tabs and Long Mast tape (blue).

Only Long Mast tape (blue) can be used on the floor. Some types of masking tapes damage the floor finish. If there is damage to the floor finish, then the project owner will be have to pay Custodial Services to strip and polish the floor. No tape can be used on the floor of Lobby 7.

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fire retardant products

Use materials that will not burn easily or that can be effectively treated with fire retardant. Refer to [7]

Displaying materials that can burn easily is prohibited in exit stairways, corridors, and other parts of an evacuation route by the Mass. Fire Prevention Regulations.

To treat foam core poster board with fire retardant: Put the board on a horizontal surface. Spray the back and let it dry. Repeat 3 times. Then apply the poster or art work.

egress: access to and visibility of Exit routes

Access to all exit doors, corridors and stairways must be kept clear at all times. The aisles to get to the exits have to be 4 feet wide and kept clear. Exit signs and doors must be clearly visible. These cannot be disguised by your project. The exit signs and emergency lights must remain on at all times.

before digging

Contact Dig Safe and BSI [8] to survey the underground utilities surveyed before any stakes are driven into the ground. This must be done each time. DIG SAFE [9] requires 3 business days of advance notice and they mark the public streets and sidewalks. BSI checks MIT property (grounds, sidewalks, and streets).

reasons to remove a project and to charge the project owner for the costs involved

  • If a project/exhibit is unsafe
  • If a project is installed in a location that is off limits
  • If any Prohibited items are displayed. These include anything that looks like a suspicious package or explosive device; will create noises that could trigger an emergency response; have volatile content; could be mistaken for a real crime scene or emergency.
  • If the approval is not posted
  • If the project is not dismantled at the end of the exhibition period–The project owner is responsible for dismantling, disposing of or recycling, and/or cleaning up all materials immediately after the exhibition period is over.
MIT EHS Office | Bldg. N52-496 | 77 Massachusetts Ave. | 02139-4307 | ext-2-EHSS | 617.452.3477 | email hidden; JavaScript is required | Legal Disclaimer



[4] review of a project
[6] diagrams for webpage Mar_11.pdf

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