Exhibitions can cost very little ($10) or a lot ($40,000), so it is a good idea to plan out a budget in advance.

Costs to Consider

Printing and Framing

How-To Page: Printing and Framing

Installation Equipment

Depending on how you decide to install your exhibition, you may need to purchase installation material. The library, museum, and White Spaces have a supply of installation equipment, but you may need to supply additional material, particularly for the White Spaces. For example, 3M adhesive strips are handy for installing foam core labels, etc. and cost about $3-4 per pack.

Borrowing exhibition material from another institution

Remember to consider shipping costs in addition to the loan fee when borrowing material from another institution. To learn more about lending materials, consult Columbia University’s Guidelines for Lending Materials for Exhibition.

The Opening Reception

It is fun and rewarding to hold an opening reception for your exhibition. If possible, incorporate a budget for snacks at your opening event. For example, budget $40 for a modest array of cookies and juice at a small event. Student entertainment funds or departmental funds (when they are available) have been used for opening events in the past.


How-To Page: Publicity

Many publicity options are free (website and blog postings, emails, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), but if you’d like to print color posters at the Carleton Print Center, budget accordingly. For example, if you want to print 20 color posters to post on campus and in Northfield, budget about $5.00 for printing ($0.24 per print).


The examples given below were funded in part by Viz grants. They represent a relatively small-scale exhibition and a larger-scale exhibition.

A small-scale photography display:

This display consisted of forty, 8×10 inch photos with labels. The photos were mounted in the hallway of the LDC. Students used 3M adhesive tabs to mount the photos on the walls.


40, 8×10 inch photos printed on photo paper: $95.00
4 packs of 3M adhesive tabs purchased at the Carleton Bookstore: $12.50
Total= $107.50

A large-scale photography exhibition, with additional programming:

This exhibition consisted of approximately 20 framed photos with labels. The exhibition was mounted at Gould Library. The exhibition opening featured a guest lecturer and expert in the field.


Publicity posters for the exhibition and event: $10.80
Shipping photos to/from international institution: $400.00
Honoraria for artists: $600.00
Frames/plexi glass for mounting photos: $684.00
Refreshments for opening reception, catered by Bon Appétit: $250.00
Travel, accommodation, food, and honorarium for guest lecturer: $2820.00

Total= $4765.00