Visitor Guidelines

General Visitor Policies 

  • Food and drink are not allowed in the galleries or classrooms.
  • Please do not touch the artwork. Even clean hands can damage works of art.
  • Please use only pencils in the galleries; markers and pens are not permitted. RISD students interested in copying works in wet media should request permission.
  • Strollers are permitted; please use elevators when traveling between the floors. Backpack child carriers are not permitted.
  • Items larger than 11” x 15” must  be left in our coatroom. Free lockers are available.
  • Smoking and e-cigarettes are not allowed.
  • Service animals as defined by state and federal regulations are welcome in the Museum. Therapy or comfort animals are not allowed.
  • Tickets are non-refundable.
  • If you are planning a visit to view a particular work in the collection, please contact Visitor Services at or 401 709 8403 to confirm it is currently on view.


Group Guidelines 

Groups wishing to visit the Museum may book a guided tour for up to 60 visitors. Guided tours must be scheduled at least four weeks in advance.

  • Grades 6 and above - One chaperone is required for every 15 students. (However, one chaperone for every 10 students is recommended.) 
  • Grades 5 and below - One chaperone is required for every 10 students.
  • Age 5 and under - One chaperone is required for every 5 students.
  • Chaperones should notify the Museum educator of situations regarding student health or safety (i.e., medical problems, potential behavior issues, etc.) prior to the start of the visit.
  • Touching the artwork is not allowed. Chaperones should make sure students do not get too close to works of art - touching can be accidental or deliberate.
  • Chaperones can help students stay focused on discussions and activities run by the Museum educator.
  • When moving between galleries, chaperones help the Museum educator gather materials, line students up, and ensure that students leave the gallery space in a quiet and orderly manner.
  • If students are taking notes or making sketches, only pencils can be used in the galleries. No wet media, including pens or markers, are allowed.
  • A chaperone must accompany any student visiting the restroom.


Photography Guidelines 

  • Photography is allowed in Museum galleries.
  • We invite you to access photographs of objects in the collection on collection pages. We provide free access to digital images of public domain materials in the collection for any purpose and want our collection, scholarship, and interpretive content to be accessed, distributed, and reused by everyone.
  • Flash photography, tripods, and selfie sticks are not permitted in the galleries. Tripod and monopod use is allowed by special permission only.
  • Video and film projects may be accommodated with advance notice. RISD Faculty and students should review the guidelines below for more information and to request permission. All non-RISD inquiries, please contact the Museum press office at
  • The Museum occasionally documents its visitors. The resulting images and recordings may be used to support the educational, promotional, and development missions of the RISD Museum.
  • The Museum supports the protection of intellectual property and the right to privacy by adhering to all applicable laws and asks its visitors to do the same.
For Students: Independent Projects

Photography and filming without flash or auxiliary equipment is always allowed in Museum galleries when we are open.

Requests to film using auxiliary equipment such as lights or tripods must be submitted at least two weeks in advance. All project details and equipment involved will be reviewed. Written agreements with individual students are often required. Please note:

  • Museum staff reserves the right to refuse projects for logistical reasons or projects with intentions inconsistent with the Museum’s mission.
  • Projects implying the Museum’s endorsement of a product, an institution other than RISD, or an ideology are not permitted.
    Questions? Contact Academic Programs at
  • Museum staff may accompany you and galleries will remain open during filming.
  • Students may be asked to sign an agreement outlining the scope of their project and the logistical expectations for the Museum.
  • The Museum supports the protections of intellectual property and the rights to privacy by adhering to all applicable laws and asks its visitors to do the same.
For RISD Faculty: Course Projects

Photography and filming without flash or auxiliary equipment is always allowed in Museum galleries.

RISD faculty may make prior arrangements before the semester begins for their students to do photography/film projects in Museum galleries using auxiliary equipment, such as lights or tripods, with appropriate supervision. Museum staff will determine on a case-by-case basis if the project is feasible in the Museum spaces and will not endanger visitors or works of art. Students in these courses must request an appointment at least two weeks in advance.
Questions? Contact Academic Programs at

Request Permission


Research Guidelines

The RISD Museum supports artistic and academic research at RISD and beyond. Collaboration with students, artists, and scholars is fundamental to how art and design is interpreted and understood.

Office Hours

Almost every department in the museum holds weekly Office Hours. Sign up online for a half-hour appointment to investigate the collection with staff experts, learn about museum practices and community work, or set up a virtual studio visit. Office hours are held virtually or in-person in one of the museum's two dedicated study centers.

Projects and Programs

Propose ways to activate our collections and explore artistic materials and processes.
Learn more. 

Submit an application

Wet-Media Copying (RISD students only)

With permission, RISD students may use wet media to copy works of art in the galleries. Acceptable media include gouache, acrylic paint, and watercolor. The Museum has a limited number of easels; students may not bring their own easels.

Request permission