Special Collections & College Archives (SCCA)

Information about SCCA

Exhibit Program Overview

Occidental College (Oxy) Special Collections and College Archives (SCCA) extends the opportunity to students, faculty, staff, and community partners to participate in our Exhibits Program. This program seeks to advance the Library’s mission to support teaching, learning, research, and other forms of intellectual engagement. We aim to increase the visibility of and present original research using SCCA collections, recognize significant gifts to the Library, and develop collaborations between the Library, campus partners, and the community.

SCCA offers two types of exhibits: 

  • Full-scale exhibits provide an interpretative narrative of a selection of materials (textual, visual, and/or auditory) that generally fill the Library Gallery cases. 
  • Small exhibits feature a selection of materials that generally fill 1-2 cases.

Who May Submit a Proposal

Oxy students, staff, and faculty as well as members of the community may submit a proposal using the Online Proposal Form for an exhibit. 


Proposals for full-scale exhibits should be submitted a minimum of 6 months prior to the planned opening date. For small exhibits (1-2 cases), a proposal should be submitted a minimum of 6 weeks prior to the installation date.

Exhibit Spaces

The Library has a variety of exhibit locations (orange arrows point to the following cases on the maps):

  • Library Gallery (priority for SCCA exhibits)
  • 1 vitrine along Cumberland Reading Room (priority for SCCA spotlight exhibits)
  • 2 vitrines along Ahmanson Reading Room
  • 1 vitrine next to LA Reading Room
  • Vertical case near Information Desk

exhibit cases on second floor 

exhibit cases on third floor

Exhibit Guidelines

  • The Exhibits Committee oversees and is responsible for all exhibits. Exhibits may be curated in collaboration with faculty, students, or campus groups. Preference is given to displays which are directly related to the College's curriculum and/or to upcoming events in the Library or on campus. Priority goes to Special Collections and College Archives then to members of the campus community then to members of the community.
  • The Library is committed to presenting diverse points of view and to upholding the principles of academic freedom. Exhibits may not be used to promote personal, commercial, or partisan political positions. Topics subject to controversy may and should be presented, provided that they are handled in an objective manner.
  • Exhibits may not compromise the privacy of staff or users or cause harm to facilities, collections, or visitors.
  • Materials may not be exhibited for the financial profit of any individual or organization.
  • The College Librarian reserves the right of final approval for all exhibits to ensure that they are consistent with the values and traditions of Occidental College and the College Library.
  • Exhibitors will be required to submit a final description of the exhibit. This description will be used on the library's website and in exhibit announcements.
  • All exhibits are temporary.
  • All exhibits must adhere to SCCA’s Best Practices for Exhibits.

Criteria for Selection

The following criteria will be considered in the evaluation of exhibit proposals. Accepted exhibits will not necessarily need to meet all criteria.

  • Educational content 
  • Broad appeal of the main theme
  • Appropriateness of subject, technique, and style for intended location and audience
  • Relation to other events or exhibits on campus or in the community
  • Objective presentation for controversial topics
  • Does not promote the political, religious, or social doctrines of a single person or group or the financial profit of an individual, organization, or commercial enterprise
  • Ease and cost of installation
  • Maintains public safety expectations 
  • Complies with the Smithsonian’s accessibility guidelines

Exhibit Installation and Security

The Library does not provide any special security in its exhibit areas. Community exhibits should not contain material of high value or unique or rare materials. Images of rare or high value items and not the item itself should be exhibited when possible. The Library does not provide any insurance for materials on display or assume any responsibility for the loss, theft of, or damage to any materials while in transit, during installation, while on exhibit, or during deinstallation. A release form or loan agreement that specifies the details of responsibility and insurance must be executed by the owner and the Library.

Exhibits must fit into the display cases provided. Freestanding exhibits or the addition of computer monitors or supplementary materials will need to be approved by the Exhibits Committee.


All publicity related to the exhibit must be coordinated through the Library Programming Committee. The Committee will work with the Library’s Communications Committee and the College Marketing and Communication Department.

Receptions and Exhibit-Related Activities

Rooms in the Library may be available for receptions and other activities (workshops, talks, demonstrations) linked to exhibits. Inquire with the Exhibit Committee for availability.

Dispute Resolution

The Library supports academic freedom and the free expression of opinion and does not engage in or promote the exercise of any type of censorship of materials that does not violate the Library’s Exhibits Guidelines or local, state, or federal laws.

The Library subscribes to the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights with regard to exhibit spaces, 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.

A person may submit a written challenge to a display, exhibit, or printed materials displayed in the Occidental College Library to the Exhibit Committee. The challenge will be reviewed and forwarded to the Library Leadership Team for final decision. The Library Leadership Team will conduct a review process in response to an individual's statement of concern. When the review process concludes, a leadership member will notify the individual of the Library’s decision. The individual may appeal the decision to the College Librarian.