Projects/Exhibits In Public Spaces

Public projects/ exhibits are encouraged  


Exhibits and projects in public areas are encouraged at MIT.  Most projects can be installed/ exhibited as proposed/ designed.  Only a small number of projects need to be modified and the EHS Office will suggest ways you can modify your plans so you can safely install and display your exhibit or project.


How long does the approval process take?

  • Submit your proposal at least 10 business days before the installation date. Allow time to make adjustments to your design.  Have a second choice for a location in case you can not use your first choice.
  • NEW APRIL 2019:  Projects will be reviewed by CRSP. Some projects will also be reviewed by Insurance, Police and/or Emergency Management.
  • Generally, the day before and the day of Commencement are off limits.  To request an exception, submit the request 3 weeks in advance to  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. Download the form template (scroll down). Fill in the project description and safety information.
  2. Projects will be reviewed by CRSP.
  3. Email the form to one space administrator at a time. Scroll down and download the list of space administrators
  4. 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.
  5. Send your proposal that the space administrator has approved to  EHS Safety Program will review the project. If you have not received a reply within 48 hours (not counting weekends and holidays), please resend your request to or call the EHS Office at x2-3477. 
  6. If the safety issues are complicated, Safety Program will make an appointment to discuss the project with the owner.
  7. Approval of certain types of projects may be contingent upon the safety plan being reviewed by EHS and then approved by Facilities including Campus Construction and/or Campus Planning, Insurance, Police and Emergency Management.
  8. The space administrator may require additional safeguards, assurance that the safety plan will be adhered to, and these must by added to the safety plan. The updated plan must be resubmitted to the space administrator and EHS.
  9. When all the approvals/ reviews are completed, both the exhibitor and professor/ supervisor will sign the final approval form.
  10. Final approval (a sign template) 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.  
  11. If the project changes significantly and this creates safety and/ or security issues, then contact EHS and/ or MIT Police immediately.


Determine who owns the Space you want to use

  • Scroll down and download the list of space administrators. 
  • Non-MIT property must be approved by the owner.


Locations that are off limits

The use of exit stairways, elevators, roofs of buildings, MIT art & sculptures, and the MIT Chapel (W15) is 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.



Review how to use electrical extension and power cords without creating fire, tripping or shock hazards.


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 and Easels

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.  Easels and poster stands (floor type) are no longer allowed in public areas. This is safer for people, who are sight-impaired.  Small easels can be used on tables.


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.


Fire Prevention

Displaying materials that can burn easily is prohibited in exit stairways, corridors, lobbies/atriums, and other parts of an evacuation route by the Mass. Fire Prevention Regulations. No one at MIT has the authority to approve a project that does not comply with this. 


  • Use materials that will not burn easily or that can be effectively treated with flame retardant.. 
  • Set up your project, schedule people to attend it continuously, and then take it down, all on the same day.
  • If your project will be inside a room with 2 exits that can be locked off hours, then you do NOT have to use fire retardant.


Fire Retardant Products

Use materials that will not burn easily or that can be effectively treated with flane retardant.

A new option: Polyester product that is designed to use with an HP printer/ plotter, is flame resistant, and recyclable. 

Refer to information about PVC coated fabric curtain, which meets NFPA-701 and California Sec. 13115.

Foam core poster board can't be effectively treated with fire retardant. makes 2 products that pass the flammability tests so these can be used for architectural models.  makes vinyl lettering and other signage products that pass the flammability tests


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 can not be disguised by your project.  The exit signs and emergency lights must remain on at all times.


Before digging

Contact Dig Safe and BSI to survey the underground utilities surveyed before any stakes are driven into the ground.  This must be done each time.  DIG SAFE 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.


file :