Exhibits in Special Collections

Pollinators: A History of Understanding

Department of Special Collections, 976 Memorial Library

Summer 2019

Plate 15 from John Obadiah Westwood, The butterflies of Great Britain (London: W. S. Orr and Co., 1855). Thordarson T 4597. Department of Special Collections, Memorial Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

When we think of pollinators, we think of bees and butterflies, surely. But also birds, bats, beetles, moths and other insects, humans and other animals, as well as wind and water — all play a part in pollination. This exploration of the variety (and critical role) of pollinators draws on our strong natural history collections, including lavishly illustrated natural history works in the Thordarson Collection and the Charles C. Miller Memorial Apicultural Library of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, also known as the Miller Bee Collection.

The exhibit also takes a closer look at the literature of beekeeping, political metaphors like the “feminine monarchie” of bees, the bee as poet, and that familiar phenomenon of a Midwestern summer, pollen and allergies.

Curated by Carly Sentieri with Susan Barribeau. Thanks also to David Pavelich, Robin Rider, and Lisa Wettleson.

Open to the public Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.