Past Exhibits


Main Exhibit Space:

Other Library Exhibit Spaces:

Main Exhibit Space:


Chicago, That Toddlin’Town: The History of Transportation in the City

December 12, 2006 – February 22, 2007

Chicago is not a great city that became a great transportation center. It is a great transportation center that became a great city. From the time Chicago was a major portage center for Native Americans to the current operation of one of the world’s largest airports, Chicago has been a major transportation hub, for the nation and the world. This exhibit offers a look at the early days of transportation in the city: urban transportation, roads, water transportation, railways and air transportation. Chicago has always been a toddlin’ town.


Student Life and Culture: Authority, Opposition and the Creation of New Traditions

October 3 – December 7, 2006

When colleges and universities, particularly those with denominational affiliations like Northwestern, developed a pedagogy focused on piety and learning by rote, students formed lively alternatives in the form of literary societies and debating clubs.  Their efforts influenced faculty to reform their teaching methods and to expand the curriculum into more modern form.  Northwestern students of the 19th and early 20th centuries were instrumental as well in the creation of institutions which have come to frame the modern college: athletic teams and social clubs - especially fraternities and sororities, school colors, songs, and other markers of identification.  Records, manuscripts, graphics, printed materials, and artifacts drawn from the holdings of the University Archives illustrate the development of student traditions at Northwestern University and suggest the ways they have helped to shape Northwestern's contemporary profile.

New Student Week Exhibit

September 12 – September 28, 2006

Various University Library departments create visually intriguing displays that encourage new undergraduates to visit their facility.

Recent Gifts to the Northwestern University Library

June 6 - September 7, 2006

An annual exhibit of recently acquired books and information resources which acknowledges and thanks the donors whose generosity has made these acquisitions possible.

Nixon in China


April 4, 2006 - June 1, 2006

This exhibit has been prepared by library staff on the landmark February 1972 visit of President Nixon to China. This trip was a controversial, symbolic recognition of the People's Republic of China when it occurred, and has had lasting effects on U.S. foreign relations. It has been the subject of considerable academic research and publishing in several disciplines. The exhibit features photographs on loan from the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California, and highlights the array of resources related to the trip and its legacy from various library collections. The exhibit is being held in the Main Library.

Walter Netsch and the Northwestern University Library

Februrary 7, 2006 - March 30, 2006

Walter Netsch, architect, Chicagoan, and Northwestern Alumnus, designed the main University Library building and the Seeley G. Mudd Library for Science and Engineering. He and his wife, Dawn Clark Netsch, are prominent collectors of modern and contemporary art. This exhibit shines on their art collection as it finds an important place in the design of not only the Library, but the Northwestern campus. The exhibit highlights materials in the Art/Architecture Library and University Archives.


Other Library Exhibit Spaces:


Special Collections

Suriname & Haiti: An Exhibition in Three Parts

September 28, 2006 - January 3, 2007

This exhibition was made of two parts Suriname and one part Santo Domingo/Haiti. The first part was composed of three original hand-colored engravings by Maria Sibylla Marian and six reproductions of her original paintings. Maria Sibylla Marian produced the first scientific work of any kind on Suriname. The second part is composed of several editions of John G. Stedman's Narrative of Five Years Expedition Against the Revolted Negros of Surinam... London, Paris, etc. accompanied by some of its many images, notably those by William Blake. The third part of the exhibit is composed of works pertaining to Santa Domingo/Haiti, the abolition of slavery and the revolt against French rule.

Chicago Hand Bookbinders: Books About Books

April 4 - May 25, 2006

The McCormick Library is pleased to host the latest traveling exhibit of the Chicago Hand Bookbinders. This new exhibit showcases the work of the Chicago Hand Bookbinders and features twenty-six books created by twenty-five binders from six states.  The theme Books About Books was chosen to give members of this group the freedom to express the full range of the bookbinder's craft.  Over many years, the Chicago Hand Bookbinders have shown a great diversity of skill and imagination. This newest exhibit offers up strong and unique craftwork in both traditional binding techniques and those experimental formats now generally classified as Artists Books. Among the books displayed are works by former and current staff of the Northwestern University Library's Conservation Lab. Augmenting the traveling exhibit are additional book works from current Conservation Lab staff, plus a display of notable historical book bindings from the McCormick Library's permanent collection.


The Works of Wole Soyinka

Fall Quarter 2006

A display of Wole Soyinka's many works to correspond with his visit to Northwestern's campus during the Fall quarter of 2006. Mr. Soyinka visited the campus to present a lecture on Othello for Northwestern's "Othello Project."