Past Exhibits

  • The Sixties: Remembering Who Was T/here

    An exhibit linking events in Madison to the larger national scene through books, record albums, photographs, and other documentary sources. Along the way, the exhibit highlighted some of the individuals who enacted or stimulated change through their writing, music, or activism. It featured collection items from the Department of Special Collections, Mills Music Library, and University Archives.


  • Preserving the Word: World Religions in our Libraries

    This exhibit, comprised of items from many different libraries on campus, had as its objective to help visitors understand the complexity and uniqueness of identity and religion in the world.


  • Print in Color, Color in Print

    The exhibit featured printing in color over nearly five centuries, and was designed to complement the Burdick-Vary symposium on “Color: Pixels, Palettes, and Perception” (March 2018).


  • Iceland: An Exhibit in Special Collections

    This exhibit, the work of guest exhibit curators Peter Gorman and Todd Michelson-Ambelang drew on the Thordarson Collection, as well as other holdings of Special Collections, Memorial Library, Mills Music Library, and the Wisconsin Historical Society, to illustrate Iceland’s natural history, folklore, literature, print culture, and religion.


  • Natural History :: Natural Philosophy (2017)

    This exhibit, designed to complement the exhibition “Martha Glowacki’s Natural History, Observations and Reflections” in the Chazen Museum in spring 2017, included titles that have informed or inspired Glowacki’s work, both from Special Collections and the Historical Collections of Ebling Health Sciences Library, along with other illustrated works from the Thordarson Collection and other collections in history of science.


  • The Globe/Global in Shakespeare’s Time (2016-2017)

    This exhibit, part of Shakespeare in Wisconsin 2016, situated Shakespeare’s work in the context of the globe and the global in the 16th and 17th centuries.


  • Staff Picks (2016)

    Following the lead of many brick-and-mortar bookstores, this exhibit featured titles from Special Collections as highlighted by our student library employees (and the rest of us).


  • Shapes in Books: Triangles, Squares, Circles (2015-2016)

    This exhibit showcased works of geometry as well as the geometry of the page more generally, and explored the use and depiction of triangles, squares, and circles in type, ornament, illustration, and metaphor.


  • Green, Green — It's Green, They Say: A Selection of Books from Special Collections (2015)

    In celebration of the lush landscape of summer, this exhibit drew upon the holdings of Special Collections to explore the color green — from matters botanical to dye samples, book bindings to frogs.


  • Mapmaking: Sources from the Geography Library, Map Library, and Special Collections (2015)

    This exhibit, which drew on the resources of the Geography Library, Map Library, and Special Collections, honored the path-breaking accomplishments of the History of Cartography Project and the publication of volume six, Cartography in the Twentieth Century.


  • Chapter & Verse: Bibles from the Holdings of Special Collections (2015)

    “Chapter and Verse” explored the close association of the Bible and related texts with print culture (and, more broadly, book culture).


  • 1914: Then Came Armageddon (2014)

    A documentary exhibit about World War I, especially on the Western Front, commemorated the centennial of its outbreak.


  • Books of Nature: An Exhibit of Science and Natural History Books from Special Collections (2014)

    A large exhibit on history of science, highlighting the rich holdings of Special Collections.


  • Woodland Pattern Broadsides: Thirty Years of Poets Reading (2013)

    An exhibit in conjunction with the acquisition by the Department of Special Collections of the Woodland Pattern Book Center archives from its founding in 1979 through 2012.


  • On the Sunny Side: An Exhibit from Special Collections & University Archives (2013)

    The long, warm days of summer, and the shorter but still sunny days of early fall, afforded a good opportunity to display works on the sun from Special Collections and University Archives.


  • Text Support: A Library Exhibit About Paper (2013)

    This exhibit, co-curated by Tracy Honn and Lyn Korenic, illustrated the history, production, and use of paper.


  • Parts and Wholes (2012)

    What is a part? What is a whole? How are issues of hierarchy, time, and relationship conveyed or at issue in print? This exhibit — presented in conjunction with the workshop, “What is an Individual? Where Philosophy, History, and Biology Coincide” — explored part/whole relationships in the sciences and print culture, drawing upon a wide variety of collections around campus.


  • Reflections of Anglo-Saxon England (2011)

    This exhibit explored the history, artifacts, and myths of Anglo-Saxon England and their many political and cultural uses.


  • Jesuits and the Construction of Knowledge, 1540–1773 (2011)

    This exhibit, drawing on extensive holdings in Special Collections of illustrated works by Jesuit authors, explored their role in the construction of knowledge from the establishment of the Society of Jesus in 1540 through its papal suppression in 1773. The books on display featured intriguing illustrations ranging from scientific diagrams and maps to natural history illustrations and ethnographic representations.