Guidelines and Restrictions

Permitted Uses:

Please see the Facility Use page for a complete list of permitted uses.

Available Areas:

Activities in the University Chapel are confined to the Auditorium on the main floor.

For activities taking place after hours or on weekends, there is no access to the Museum galleries, Lee's office, Lee family crypt or, consequently, to the bathrooms. Under special circumstances determined at the discretion of the Associate Director, the Museum galleries may be open for an evening tour. Requests must be made to the Associate Director no less than thirty (30) days in advance of the event.

After museum hours, bathrooms are available only in buildings along the Colonnade (Robinson, Payne, Tucker, Newcomb, and Washington Hall). In addition, there are no dressing facilities available in the University Chapel.


The University Chapel Auditorium stage is furnished with an antique lectern, dating to the construction of the Chapel, and the piano, located under the portrait of George Washington. The piano must remain in its permanent location.

The Chapel is equipped with a projection system, handheld and lavalier microphones, a large lectern with a stationary microphone, two small lectern stands, W&L armchairs for stage seating, and lighting options. Requests for any of these items may be made on the reservation form.

Additional setup-up needs, first must be approved by the Event Coordinator and then arrangements for these must be made by the requester. If further assistance is needed, please contact the Event Coordinator, 540-458-8768.

Special concert staging with risers must be approved by the Associate Director.

Site visits for planning purposes with the Associate Director of Museums must be arranged by appointment in advance.

Evening / Weekend Use:

When the Chapel is required for evening and/or weekend use by the university, arrangements must be made through the Event Coordinator in order to schedule a W&L Security Officer to open and close the Chapel Auditorium. The Event Coordinator or a member of the full time University Chapel staff will stay with the building at all times until the event is over and Security returns to secure the building. The requesting organization is responsible for ensuring compliance with Chapel policy.If the evening or weekend activity is not a university function, there will be a required additional fee of $100 for a Security officer to be present (see Fees).

FACULTY, PLEASE NOTE: If a university faculty member or campus organization has arranged to use a smaller facility such as Northern Auditorium, but anticipates that there is the chance that the audience may be larger, thereby necessitating the use of the Chapel Auditorium, that faculty or administrative staff member must make arrangements to reserve the Chapel prior to the event, in case the auditorium is needed at the last minute. The Associate Director will ensure the Chapel's availability and will notify Security of the possibility of an event. Arrangements will be made to open the Chapel at the faculty or staff member's request. Without this prior reservation, Security will NOT open the Chapel under any circumstances.

Liability / Insurance:

For Internal Group Events, the individual signing the Reservation Request Form  will be held responsible for all matters related to the event. A representative is REQUIRED to be present at the event. That individual is responsible for leaving the premises in good condition and is responsible for cleaning up all programs, literature and other supplies brought to the Auditorium.

For Sponsored Group Events, the organization to which the permit is issued shall be liable for any loss, damage or injury sustained by any person whatever, by reason of negligence of the person or persons to whom such permit shall have been issued, and shall be liable for damage to the museum property and also responsible for cleaning up trash generated by activities allowed under the permit. The Vice President for Finance of Washington and Lee University will require from the organization to which the permit is issued a certificate of liability and damage insurance in the amount of one million dollars ($1,000,000) naming Washington and Lee University as the additional insured.


Because the University Chapel is available as a public space 7 days a week and there is no 24-hour custodial staff, users of the facility have the responsibility to ensure that the space is left in the condition in which it was found prior to the scheduled use. Clean-up should take place immediately after the scheduled event. This means that all programs, hand-outs, signs, boxes and other materials must be cleared from the building immediately. Make certain that someone is assigned to be responsible for this duty. If boxes or equipment need to be stored overnight because of scheduling constraints, arrangements must be made through the Event Coordinator. If the building is left in disorder by any group, W&L or other, a clean-up fee of $100 will be charged to the group responsible for the event. Full charges will be assessed for any damages to the Chapel or its furnishings requiring repair or replacement.

Size of Groups / Occupancy Restrictions:

Because of fire and safety codes, seating capacity in the University Chapel & Galleries must be regulated so that exits and stairwells are not blocked at any time. Seating capacity of the auditorium is 525 (400 downstairs and 125 in the balcony). Even then, there are always less seats available than one may plan for, due to the way people seat themselves. You should expect this when planning your program.

ALL events in the Chapel must be limited to no more than 525 persons. If the anticipated audience exceeds this number, the organizing department or group should consider providing an overflow alternative (contact the Information Technology Services), if one is deemed necessary. At NO TIME can there be anyone standing in the aisles or at the rear of the auditorium, sitting on the stairs, or blocking the entrance due to fire and safety regulations. Once the auditorium reaches capacity, entrance into the building will be regulated by a Security officer or designated person in order to maintain safety.

When planning large events, the University Chapel & Galleries will arrange with Public Safety to provide crowd control at the Chapel throughout the event. Such events will include First Year Orientation, Homecoming, Parents Weekend, Alumni Reunion and other University events anticipating a crowd over 500. Additionally, the department or organization must provide at least two to four (2-4) ushers to help the audience find available seats.

For Parents Weekend concerts as well as for CONTACT and other lectures with nationally known speakers, it is highly recommended that free tickets, not to exceed 500, be distributed prior to the event, in order to ensure seating opportunities for family and friends of the musicians and to control the crowd in a rational and fair manner. (If the University Singers are in the balcony, the number of seats available should be reduced by 25. The balcony will remain closed, except in the case of an overflow crowd.

Additional Restrictions:

  • No food and drink (including bottles of water) may be brought into or consumed at any time within the Chapel Auditorium, with the exception of water provided for speakers or choir members only.
  • Smoking or any open flame is NOT permitted, in any circumstances, in any area of the building.
  • Cell phones must be placed on vibrate upon entering the Chapel.
  • No tape of any kind may be used on any surface in the Auditorium. Alternative methods of signage will be suggested upon request.
  • No flags may be displayed in the Chapel other than the University flags, which include the American flag, the Virginia State flag, the flag of the Society of the Cincinnati, and the flag of the University. These flags may only be moved by University Chapel personnel.
  • No furniture, fixtures, fittings or equipment belonging to the University Chapel & Galleries may be moved, including the piano, and no electrical equipment of any kind may be connected without the prior permission of the Associate Director.
  • No admission fee may be taken up at the door of the University Chapel and no sales or solicitation may be made during the event inside the Chapel Auditorium without prior special permission from the Associate Director.
  • Permission to use the Chapel Auditorium does not include use of the surrounding University grounds, including the parking lot. Permission for these areas must be obtained from the President's Office and the Director of Public Safety, respectively.