Exhibitions Category


Special Collections News & Updates 6/17/2016


Shakespeare Events This Weekend:

Pericles in City Park from the Riverside Theater. Info: http://daily-iowan.com/2016/06/16/shakespeare-at-sea-opens-riverside-in-the-park/

King Lear on the lawn at Salisbury House in Des Moines from Repertory Theater of Iowa. Info: http://rtiowa.com/king-lear/


Big News From the University of Iowa Center for the Book:

The University of Iowa Center for the Book has been testing the numbers from historic records that indicated early paper making shops could make 2000 sheets a day. After several attempts, this year, they matched that output:

(See their gallery of images here: https://www.facebook.com/University-of-Iowa-Center-for-the-Book-118780728163253/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1127314790643170)

They did it! 2000 sheets in one day! Congrats to all who participated!

A photo posted by UICB (@uictrbook) on


Instruction Update:

Amy Chen will be out of the office for two weeks to attend two conferences between Monday, June 13 and Friday, June 24. During this time, John Fifield will be answering the instruction request form. A reminder that instruction requests should always be directed to the form, not to an individual, for cases like this when Amy will be out of town. When Amy returns, the instruction request form will return to her.


50 Years of Star Trek Exhibition Continues Until August 5th

The tribbles multiplied this week, but they are contained. Don’t worry, we’ve got everything under control.


From the Web & Social Media

Historical Crushes video series continues:


New episode of Staxpeditions:

Coming Soon:

Migration is Beautiful Title ImagePreparations are underway to launch the Iowa Women’s Archives’ Migration is Beautiful website and accompanying 8×8-foot popup exhibit of Iowa Latina/o history at the national LULAC convention in Washington DC in July. Thanks to the Friends of the University of Iowa Libraries for making the physical exhibit possible!









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Felicia Rice and Guillermo Gómez-Peña Artwork Doc/Undoc on Display

Last week Special Collections the Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professors Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Felicia Rice stopped by Special Collections for a performance and their collaborative work Doc/Undoc is now on display.

Rice performed “DOC/UNDOC: Collaboration and Metamorphosis,” followed by a conversation with Guillermo Gómez-Peña on March 31st.

Gómez-Peña is a performance artist whose live art, video, radio, photography, and writing have earned acclaim — and many awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship — over the past thirty years. He is the artistic director of the transnational performance collective La Pocha Nostra.

Rice’s design, printing, and publication work for her Moving Parts Press (Santa Cruz, CA) has been exhibited at major book fairs in New York and Frankfurt, and collected by the Whitney Museum, the Bodleian Library, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, among others. Rice is also an educator who teaches courses in letterpress printing, typography, printmaking, typography, and bookmaking at institutions ranging from UC-Santa Cruz to the Santa Cruz YWCA.

Together with their collaborators, Gómez-Peña and Rice have published artists’ books including DOC/UNDOC: Documentado/Undocumented, Ars Shamánica Performática (2014), a copy of which is held by UI’s Special Collections.

Doc/Undoc as well as selections of work from the Moving Parts Press on loan from Felicia Rice are on display in the third floor hallway gallery cases outside of Special Collections until May 20th, 2016.

Event 3/31:


Doc/Undoc Exhibition:

Display created by Ellen Wrede.


DOC/UNDOC : Documentado/Undocumented Ars Shamánica Performática / texts Guillermo Gómez-Peña, images & bookwork Felicia Rice, video Guillermo Gómez-Peña & Gustavo Vazquez, critical commentary Jennifer González, sound art Zachary Watkins.  Santa Cruz, CA : Moving Parts Press, 2014.

Special Collections x-Collection N7433.4.G644 D63 2014 


Thanks to the UI Deparment of English, The Department of Theater Arts, The University of Iowa Center for the Book, The Obermann Center, Jennifer Buckley, Tim Barrett, Ellen Wrede, Giselle Simón, Candida Pagan, Heidi Bartlett and everyone from Special Collections who worked to make the event and exhibition possible.


Main Library Exhibition Gallery is Now OPEN : First Exhibition “Explorer’s Legacy”

Explorer’s Legacy:

James Van Allen and the Discovery of the Radiation Belts

February 1 – April 8



After months of being closed for renovations the new state of the art gallery in the University of Iowa Main Library is now open. Stop by and take a look at the exhibition, including the story of the discovery of the radiation belts, and the tale of how the earliest data recorded from space was recovered, digitized, and made available for scientists and scholars.

Gallery hours:

Monday-Saturday: 10am – 5pm
Sunday: 11am – 5pm

Read More about this exhibition.


One Week Only! Introduction to Book History Class Exhibition

The Introduction to Book History course taught by Gregory Prickman, Head of Special Collections & University Archives, curated this exhibition as a group to showcase their research. This week only it will remain on display outside Special Collections & University Archives’ reading room on the 3rd floor of the Main Libary.  Stop by to see a remarkable selection of books, highlighting interesting research from students from a range of departments including the Center for the Book, the School of Library and Information Science, Art, English and more.



New Exhibition – Reconstructing ‘The American Reader’

The American Reader Title PageSpecial Collections & University Archives is pleased to announce our newest exhibition Reconstructing ‘The American Reader’ from English Department graduate student Miriam Janechek which highlights a new type of research now possible with access to searchable digitized copies of books online.  The American Reader is a textbook printed in 1808 which, like other readers, combines hundreds of excerpts from different types of published works but includes no citations.  By searching the massive numbers of books now searchable in the Google Books Project, in combination with the wealth of 18th century books in Special Collections, it becomes possible to trace the origins of the passages to find the original publications, collect them together and display them to reveal a snapshot of the types of works that made up The American Reader and more broadly that comprised education in 1808, just as the United States was abandoning European educational models and developing a sense of national identity through education. 

The exhibition can be viewed just outside Special Collections & University Archives on the third floor of the Main Library anytime the library is open and continues until January 3, 2013.


“Iowa Now” Feature on 1812 Exhibition


The War of 1812 in Iowa, then and now

Old Capitol exhibit opens Oct. 11 with free reception, lecture

By:  Rebecca Pope | 2012.10.04 | 10:47 AM
 The University of Iowa Old Capitol Museum will mark the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 with a special exhibition of historical documents, maps and artifacts from various Iowa archaeological sites.

Conflict on the Iowa Frontier: Perspectives on the War of 1812 opens Thursday, Oct. 11, with a free public reception from 5 to 7:30 p.m. in the museum. Guest lecturer Eugene Watkins will speak in the Senate Chamber of the Old Capitol Museum from 6 to 6:45 p.m. and lead a discussion about the history of Fort Madison. Watkins is Fort Madison’s site manager for Old Fort Madison. He holds a doctorate of U.S. history from the University of Toledo.

A photograph of a book with a drawing of a man on the left page and words on the right page
Black Hawk’s autobiography. Photo courtesy of UI Pentacrest Museums, book from Special Collections

Artifacts featured in the exhibit include Black Hawk’s autobiography, giving insight into the war from the perspective of Native Americans, and an Orderly Book for infantry men of the period, in which general and regimental orders were recorded. These objects tell the story of the war’s Mississippi River campaign and how it affected the future of the state.

Also on Oct. 11, archaeologist Jodi Magness, distinguished professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will give the UI Department of Religious Studies Adler Lecture and the UI Pentacrest Museums Directors’ Lecture at 7:30 p.m. in the Senate Chamber of the Old Capitol Museum.

In anticipation of National Archaeology Day, her topic is “Ossuaries and the Burial of Jesus and James.” The presentation is free and open to the public. Magness specializes in the archaeology of ancient Palestine in the Roman, Byzantine, and early Islamic periods.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. For more information on the UI Pentacrest Museums and Old Capitol Museum, visit www.uiowa.edu/oldcap/or call 319-335-0548. The UI Department of Religious Studies is part of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Books and documents from Special Collections are featured in this exhibition, including the Black Hawk autobiography seen in the photo. Original article can be viewed here: http://now.uiowa.edu/2012/10/war-1812-iowa-then-and-now

Monumental Ideas in Miniature Books II

“Monumental Ideas in Miniature Book Making” is a traveling exhibition of more than 100 artists’ miniature books from eight countries curated by Hui-Chu Ying, Professor of The Myers School of Art, at the University of Akron. These small treasures by nationally and internationally recognized book artists explore epic tales, poetry, and storytelling using diverse book and printmaking techniques.  Emily Martin and Jill Kambs from the University of Iowa Center for the Book have works featured in this exhibition.  This visually stunning and dramatically eclectic collection demonstrates in stunning miniature the breadth and variety of contemporary artist’s books. 

The books will be exhibited outside Special Collections and University Archives on the third floor of the Main Library for just four more weeks until October 22nd, 2012.

For exquisite photographic views of each of the works, visit the MIMB2 Flickr page:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/mimborg/


American Indian Dancing Exhibition

Image of Native American DancingWe are pleased to announce our summer exhibition outside Special Collections & University Archives titled “American Indian Dancing: Ethnic Stereotypes, Community Resources, Living Traditions”.  What follows is the Curator’s Statement from Olson Fellow Gyorgy Toth who will shortly be finishing his two years with us as an indespensible part of the team as well as finishing his PhD in American Studies.

Curator’s Statement

A culmination of my training as a scholar and an archivist, this exhibition aims to showcase items from the holdings of our Special Collections and University Archives related to American Indian dancing. This topic cannot be separated from the longer history of Euro-American and Native American relations, which includes trade, mutual cultural influences, violence, material and cultural dispossession, resistance, and revitalization.

The Native Peoples of the Americas had used music and dancing in their communities for social functions, cultural expression, and spiritual events for thousands of years before Europeans ever landed on their shores. Yet the rest of the world learned the meanings of American Indian dancing largely through European eyes, and with European biases. Our collections are especially rich in items that illustrate how Euro-American explorers, scientists, artists and cultural entrepreneurs imagined, depicted and understood American Indian dancing. Our Harvey Ingham Collection contains a great number of accounts about American Indians ranging from the scientific to the popular, the lurid, and the sensational. The Redpath Chautauqua Collection’s wealth of talent brochures yielded many examples of how Euro-Americans impersonated Indians, and how some Native Americans advocated for their nations, as they educated and entertained primarily white middle class audiences in the late 19th and early 20th century. Dr. Betsy Loyd Harvey graciously lent her expertise to our installation on ‘playing Indian’ on the Chautauqua circuit.

Even as Euro-Americans appropriated some of their culture to define Americanness, Indians never stopped using music and dancing for their own purposes. To provide a corrective to the many Euro-American images of American Indian dancing, I turned to our collections of Native American-produced materials. From the Records of the Latino-Native American Cultural Center and other University Archives collections emerged items that powerfully link our own university’s history to the larger Native American revival of the post-World War Two period. Foremost among them are items produced by the UI’s American Indian Student Association for their annual powwow. Please support this cultural festival by donating to The American Indian Student Association, The University of Iowa, 308 Melrose Avenue, Iowa City, Iowa  52246 Fax: 319-335-2245 Email: studorg-aisa@uiowa.edu I am especially thankful to Christine Nobiss for lending her beautiful powwow artwork to decorate this exhibition.

Like the origins of the powwow, the meanings of American Indian dancing are many-layered. In them, Euro-American biases like fascination, good will, business and cultural exploitation, masquerading, tribute and scientific interest are intermixed with Native agendas and motivations that include cultural revival, resistance to domination, profit ventures, and social and spiritual functions. Instead of judging just one aspect, we need to be aware of how these meanings are all intertwined in any image or performance of Indian dancing. Only this way can we truly appreciate the history and enduring vitality of American Indian dancing.


Gyorgy “George” Toth – gyorgy-toth@uiowa.edu


PhD Candidate, American Studies

Robert A. Olson Fellow, Special Collections and University Archives

The University of Iowa


The exhibition is on display anytime the Main Library is open in the third floor corridor outside Special Collections & University Archives and will be on display through early September


Mad for Mad Men Exhibit

Are you a fan of the show Mad Men, 1960s fashion, or the cut-throat world of advertising?  Check out our new exhibit on Pinterest featuring items from Special Collections & University Archives and the Pomerantz Business Library!   http://pinterest.com/uispeccoll/mad-for-mad-men-exhibit/

Source: flickr.com via Special on Pinterest

Source: flickr.com via Kimberly on Pinterest


Source: flickr.com via Special on Pinterest


Source: flickr.com via Special on Pinterest


Harry Potter and the Quest for Enlightenment

group photo of students

Dragons, mandrakes, and potions have taken over the cases outside Special Collections & University Archives!

Students in Donna Parsons’ Honors Seminar titled “Harry Potter and the Quest for Enlightenment” have curated an exhibit using materials from Special Collections. The exhibit is one part of a semester long project utilizing Special Collections materials for research.  The students chose one item to represent their research and worked together to fit their items into themes for display. 

Parsons’ seminar has the students closely read the texts and analyze their themes as well as investigate the influences from the literary cannon and the effects on popular culture in the US and Britain.  She envisioned the collaboration with Special Collections as an exciting opportunity to enhance student learning. “The Harry Potter series is filled with extensive references to science, literature, mythology, and history,” Parsons says. “Partnering with Special Collections has supplied my students with the resources needed to trace a specific reference and discuss its relevance to a particular scene, character, or plotline.  The partnership has also provided the context for a deeper understanding of the series and its appeal to a diverse audience.”

Greg Prickman, Head of Special Collections & University Archives,  welcomed the collaboration.  “The idea to have the students create an exhibition was Donna’s, and we quickly agreed to it. Rather than showing or telling, we are giving them the chance to do their own showing and telling, which results in a unique learning opportunity that can only be experienced with access to original historical documents.”

Kelsey Sheets, a student in the seminar, loved finding out how complex the world of Harry Potter really is.  “In the past I have read books about how J.K. Rowling draws inspiration from a wide variety of historical and mythical sources and incorporates them into the series, but my own research [on links between the study of Potions and the muggle study of Chemistry] really solidified this point and made me appreciate the depth of the wizarding world.”

The exhibit will be on display until June 12th on the third floor of the Main Library outside Special Collections & University Archives anytime the library is open.