Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Policy for Events and Facility Use

The Spencer Museum of Art is available for rental by University of Kansas departments and affiliated groups and organizations. Non-university groups may be eligible to rent the museum facilities, but certain restrictions apply. Groups using the Spencer must comply with all federal, state, city, and University laws and regulations.

Use of the Spencer Museum of Art is a privilege. Priority is given to Spencer Museum of Art events, KU departments, KU affiliated groups sponsored by a KU department, and KU student organizations. The approval of a similar event in the past does not mean a new event can be accommodated.

The Spencer facilities may not be used for personal events such as weddings, parties, or receptions. Charging an admission fee to an event hosted at the Spencer Museum of Art is prohibited.

What areas can be rented within the Spencer?

SMA Auditorium
The Auditorium is located on the main floor of the Spencer. The fully-mediated room is available for lectures, symposia, performances, and meetings. The event sponsor is responsible for contacting Instructional Development & Support to determine audio/visual needs. The Auditorium has 260 fixed seats with room for 30 additional folding chairs and is reserved for KU classes Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Food and beverages are not permitted.

Central Court
The Central Court is located on the main floor of the Spencer. The space is available for dinners, receptions, and music performances. The Central Court can accommodate 380 persons standing, 125 folding chairs, or 120 seated at tables. The Spencer has 4, six-foot folding rectangular tables, 60 folding chairs, and 50 campstools for use. If additional tables and chairs are needed, sponsor must make rental arrangements. The Central Court is not A/V equipped. If A/V equipment is needed, sponsor should contact Instructional Development & Support to make arrangements. Food and beverages permitted.

Reception Room
The Reception Room is located on the main floor of the Spencer. The room is available for meetings, luncheons, or dinners. The Reception Room is suitable for groups of 25 or fewer. Food and beverages permitted.

The Spencer galleries will remain open to the public during regular hours. Special arrangements can be made to open galleries after museum hours. Fees will apply.

What days and times are available?

Office Hours

Monday - Friday 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM

Gallery Hours

Closed Monday
10 AM - 4 PM Tuesday, Friday & Saturday
10 AM - 8 PM Wednesday - Thursday
Noon - 4 PM Sunday

Holiday Hours

Martin Luther King Day

SMA Offices and Museum will be closed in observation of MLK Day.

Admission to the Spencer Museum of Art is free; donations are welcome.

Contact smarental@ku.edu for additional times available.

How much does it cost to rent and what are the payment arrangements?

Rental fees are determined by the event category, location, staff time, and equipment use. The categories are university-affiliated events and non- university affiliated events. Security and event staff is required at every event. The minimum charge for staffing is two hours. Additional personnel time will be charged as worked, in half-hour increments. The sponsor must arrange and pay directly for all equipment and staffing not provided by the Spencer. The Spencer will not be responsible for payment of any expenses incurred by an outside group/organization hosting an event at the Spencer.

FACILITY USE – KU Departments & Organizations

Auditorium or Central Court
Departmental and public lectures, symposia, music performances and other educational activities
Central Court
Receptions and social events
Central Court and Galleries
Receptions and social events
Reception Room
Receptions and social events

FACILITY USE – Non-University Groups

(must be co-sponsored with Spencer or be Spencer member at the Benefactor level)

Central Court
Receptions and social events
Central Court and Galleries
Receptions and social events
Reception Room
Receptions and social events

STAFF – After-Hours Events

(events occurring outside of regular Museum office or gallery hours)

$40/hr(per guard)
Security Staff
SMA requires between one and four guards to oversee security of the building and artworks during any event; number of security staff required will be determined by the location, scale, and nature of your event. Fee is assessed per guard, per hour, and will not be pro-rated for any part thereof.
Museum Staff
One SMA staff member is required on site to oversee events.


Please contact the Museum to discuss equipment and audio/visual needs and any associated fees.

Cancellations must be made at least 24 hours in advance to avoid a no-show minimum charge of $25.00.

What is the policy for serving food and beverages?

Food and beverages are permitted only in the Central Court and Reception Room. Food and beverages are not permitted in galleries. If food or beverages are to be served at an event, the Spencer must approve all arrangements in advance. The event sponsor is solely responsible for compliance with all state and University regulations regarding catering, food preparation, and beverage service. Contact KU Catering at union.ku.edu/catering.shtml. The sponsor is responsible for the clean up of all kitchen and dining equipment and removal of all food, beverages, supplies and equipment not owned by the Spencer. If this requirement is not met a $50.00 fee with be applied. Event sponsors should consult with the SMA Facility Rental Coordinator for assistance in these arrangements.

Alcoholic beverage service is available only at private events sponsored by University departments. The Chancellor must approve the serving of alcoholic beverages at such events. Requests must be made in writing and submitted to the Provost no less than two weeks before the event using a form supplied by the Provost office. The Alcohol Use Guidelines and request form are available at KU Policy Library.

What parking facilities are available?

Parking is available across the street in the Mississippi Street Parking Garage adjacent to the Kansas Union at an hourly rate. Please look for reserved signage at driving entrances. The lower parking lot north of the Spencer and the spaces along Mississippi Street are available without charge or a permit after 5 PM on weekdays and at all times on weekends. Please note that there is a severe shortage of nearby parking during KU football home games.

Buses may unload in front of the Spencer on Mississippi Street; parking for buses is limited. After unloading, buses should proceed across campus to the Lied Center parking lot. Periodically, other options closer to the Museum may be available; please ask about bus parking when you book your tour.

Is the Spencer accessible to persons with physical disabilities?

All areas of the Museum building are accessible to persons with physical disabilities. There is a drop-off lane with two handicapped parking spaces at the Mississippi Street (east) entrance to the building (where ground level is the 3rd floor,) and persons using wheelchairs should use that entrance when it is open. There is a doorbell at the east entrance to alert staff if assistance is needed. The east entrance is used for normal weekday hours and evening and weekend events on the 3rd and 4th floors. There are also two, handicapped parking spaces and a ramp to an entrance with a doorbell on the west side of the building, for access to the art library (1st floor) and art history department (2nd floor) when the east entrance is closed. Vehicles with handicapped permits may also park free in any parking space on campus except loading zones. The Spencer has two wheelchairs and several canes for visitor use.

What are the rules regarding safety and security?

The safety of visitors and collections will not be compromised for any event. Spencer security staff and the SMA Facility Rental Coordinator or a SMA representative must be present for all events; additional security staff may be required in proportion to the spaces to be used and the number of participants expected. Sponsors and participants must immediately comply with all instructions of the Spencer staff regarding safety and security. Spencer staff members are authorized to expel individuals who violate Museum policies.

A Security Officer will be on duty at the specified time to provide access for delivery and set-up. A Security Officer will open the museum’s main entrance to set up for public events thirty minutes before the scheduled beginning time. No Spencer fixtures or objects, including the piano, may be moved except by the Spencer staff. The sponsoring organization may not install decorations except under the direct personal supervision of a member of the Spencer staff. All decorations and equipment must be approved in advance by a member of the Spencer staff.

All items not belonging to the Spencer must be removed by the sponsor immediately after the event or as scheduled with the SMA Facility Rental Coordinator. The sponsor must be financially responsible for any damage to Spencer property.

Is it possible to schedule guided tours of galleries during our event?

The Spencer welcomes the opportunity to provide guided tours of the museum, its collections, and exhibitions to groups renting space. Tours are given by museum education department staff or docents. Tours may be arranged online.