Policy Statement

Approved by: Mead Art Museum Collection Committee 

Approval Date: July 1, 2020

The mission of the Mead Art Museum is to make artwork in the collection available to the Amherst College community, and the wider public, for education, enrichment, and enjoyment. The Mead carries out this mission by displaying artwork in the Museum, inviting the public to request works of art for viewing by appointment in the Study Room, and by providing a free, online digital catalog of the collection.

While the Mead often lends works of art from the collection to other museums for exhibitions, the Museum’s stewardship obligations, set forth by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), rarely permit the lending of artwork to non-museum entities that cannot provide appropriate care, such as specific controlled climate conditions and security. For the most part, this policy extends to Amherst College campus locations. Sites on the College campus other than those overseen by the Mead do not meet the requirements for the care of artwork in the collection. The two campus locations apart from the Museum where works from the collection may be displayed are the Amherst Center for Russian Culture Art Gallery in Webster Hall and the President’s House. Requests for loans to other locations on campus will not be considered.

Accessing the Mead Art Collection on Campus

All members of the Amherst College community are welcome to study and appreciate the Museum’s approximately 20,000 works of art and cultural objects representing a wide range of cultures and eras of art history.

 Please review the following recommendations on how to access the collection, connect your study, teaching, and research with artwork, and enjoy art at the Mead.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: As a current Amherst student, may I borrow artwork from the Mead for my dorm room?

A: The Mead cannot lend works from our collection to campus dorms. To meet the standards set out by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the agency that accredits the Mead, we need to maintain appropriate temperature, humidity, light levels, and security for our collection to ensure the preservation of artworks for future generations of visitors to study and enjoy. 

Instead, we encourage you to immerse yourself in art by visiting the Mead’s galleries. With our extended hours and comfy chairs, we hope you feel at home at the Mead.


Q: How can I include Mead artworks in my research and presentations?  

A: The Mead has two classrooms available for you to use to display works from our collections. Both rooms also have digital equipment for additional visual or audio support. 

Contact Emily Potter-Ndiaye at epotterndiaye@amherst.edu to reserve the space and discuss the availability of the artwork you’d like to use. Please be in touch with us at least three weeks prior to your desired presentation date. Not all artworks may be available, but we’ll do our best to accommodate you.


Q: Do artworks from the Mead’s collection ever travel?

A: Occasionally the Mead lends works from the collection for exhibitions at professional museums and cultural institutions that meet our loan requirements and AAM guidelines. We also display works of art at the Amherst Center for Russian Culture Art Gallery in Webster Hall and the President’s House. Artworks sometimes travel outside the Mead for conservation purposes. 

Thank you again for your interest in the Mead’s collection. See you in the galleries!