Exhibition Policy

Exhibit Selection

  • Exhibits must be related to the Center's mission statement.
  • Objects being considered for exhibit are first to be reviewed for their vulnerability, preservation needs, and access restrictions. This will include research into the prior activity (display, loan, conservation/restoration, and activity before the Center acquired it) and sensitivities (such as privacy considerations as described in the Center's General Restrictions Policy Statement and/or restrictions specified in the Center's ownership documentation) of each object.
  • Use of facsimiles is encouraged where appropriate, particularly in regards to traveling exhibits and/or very fragile and/or valuable objects.
  • At least three months of preparatory lead time should be allowed prior to an exhibit.

Housing Criteria

  • Exhibit techniques must provide a chemically stable environment for the objects. Displayed objects should not be exposed to atmospheric contaminants or exhibit materials containing a substance that may be harmful to the objects.
  • Exhibit techniques should (where feasible) offset changes in temperature and relative humidity in the room, and should protect the objects from high levels of light, dust and other pollutants.
  • Exhibit techniques must facilitate the desired degree of physical handling of collection objects and, conversely, must protect collections from unnecessary handling. Exhibit cases must be locked or otherwise inaccessible to the visitor.
  • Exhibit techniques must not alter the exhibited object physically or chemically, must not cause irreversible changes to the objects, and must provide adequate physical support and protection for the objects.
  • Displayed objects must not be in contact with adhesives or other agents (tacks, nails, etc.) used in mounting them.

Environmental Conditions Criteria

  • Steady conditions of temperature (65-75° F) and relative humidity (25-45%) should be maintained in the exhibit areas. Fluctuations are to be minimized within a range of ten points.
  • Lighting of objects should not exceed (15)-foot candles and may not exceed (10)-foot candles for black and white documents and (5)-foot candles for objects with color. Objects should never be exhibited in areas where they would receive direct sunlight. Levels of ultraviolet light in the exhibit area should not exceed 75 uw/lumen. Colored objects, such as textiles, prints, and lithographs, should be protected against ultraviolet light rays produced by sunlight and by fluorescent lighting. No photographs of loaned objects may be taken using photo-flood lights or photo-flash.
  • Smoking, food and drink should be prohibited in the exhibit areas.
  • Staff should make regular inspections for conservation, pest and maintenance problems in and around the exhibit areas.

Transportation Criteria

  • Transport of fragile pieces should, in general, be avoided - this especially includes plaster pieces and items with thin projecting parts.
  • Instructions should be concise and clear, and should be physically located ahead of the objects they describe - include packing diagrams, condition reports, and whatever else is necessary to ensure the safety of the objects.
  • Objects must be adequately padded for shipment, in sealed containers (no open crates) clearly marked with the name and address of the originating shipper and of the consignee with the following markings as appropriate: "Fragile," broken wine glass symbol of fragility, "This Side Up," arrows indicating the direction in which the box should ride, "Open This Side," box number. Exterior of box should give no indication of valuable contents.
  • Packing materials touching the objects must be chemically inert.
  • Packing materials should be reusable and should be retained during exhibits.
  • Personnel must have clean hands and - where warranted - wear clean gloves when handling exhibit objects.
  • All damages or possible damages should be reported to the collections conservator immediately; all fragments are to be saved.

In-house Security Criteria

  • Exhibit documentation must be produced in a timely fashion, filed in the collection case file(s) stored in a secure location, and physically preserved by proper handling and storage methods.
  • Furthermore, exhibit records must describe the object(s) displayed, including the Center's accession number, the object's title or name, the exhibit location, condition assessment reports prior to exhibit and upon return to collections storage after the exhibit, and should include - where useful - photographic documentation and/or sketches and diagrams of the exhibit. Exhibit records should also describe the display activity, especially the duration and the environmental conditions of the display.
  • Objects should be displayed in a fireproof building, in an area that is protected by fire and smoke alarms, away from potential fire or public safety hazards, and guarded from damage and theft by responsible means.
  • Staff should conduct routine trials of security devices (such as alarms, locks, barriers).

Loan Criteria

  • Loans are made, in accordance with the Center's mission statement, to educational and cultural institutions with demonstrated need.
  • Proper forms must be filled out. The Loan from the Center Form is to be completed for every outgoing loan of collections objects from the Center. The Loan to the Center Form is to be utilized for loans to the Center.
  • It is Center policy in general to make no long-term loans. Most loans are for six months or less.

Additional Criteria

  • Expenses. The expenses of packing and transportation to and from the borrowing institution will be borne by the borrower. In addition, the Director may ask the borrower to pay for the cost of its examination and photographic documentation costs before and after the loan and of conservation work that will permit the loan of an otherwise physically endangered object.
  • Insurance. The borrowing institution must, at its own expense, cover the loaned objects (from the time they leave the Center until they are returned) with an all-risk fine arts insurance policy at an amount that the Center and the insurance carrier agree is a fair market value. Evaluations for insurance purposes must be kept confidential. Evidence that insurance coverage is in full force and effect must be given to the Center before objects leave the Center.
  • Credits. The Center of Southwest Studies must receive clear and prominent credit in display and publicity of loaned objects. Copies of all press clippings must be sent to the Center.
  • Publications. The borrower may not reproduce the loaned objects in any medium, including photographs, except for the express purposes of publicity and education promoting this exhibition, without written permission from the Center.
  • Other Rights. The Center reserves the right to require other safeguards, to inspect the loaned objects on location at the borrowing institution, and to withdraw loaned objects at any time.
  • Exceptions. Any departure from the requirements listed on this page must be approved in writing by the Director of the Center or by the Director's delegated representative.

 Summer Hours - Museum
Monday - Friday: 1 pm - 4 pm or by appointment
Library & Archives: by appointment only 8/12-8/16/19

Map & Directions

Purchase parking passes at kiosks located at Fort Lewis College information signs near entrances to campus.


Center of Southwest Studies
Fort Lewis College
1000 Rim Drive
Durango, CO 81301

Contact Us

Phone Numbers

Main Office: 970-247-7456
Library Reference Desk: 970-382-6982
Special Collections Library: 970-247-7135
Archives: 970-247-7126
College Records: 970-382-6951
Museum: 970-247-7456