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Hesburgh Libraries

Rare Books & Special Collections

Physical Exhibits in Special Collections

Rare Books and Special Collections regularly presents exhibits of materials from its holdings in our Exhibit Room (102 Hesburgh Library, at the west end of the 1st floor concourse) and on our Web site.

All exhibits are free and open to the public during our regular hours.

Opening Soon!

Vestigia Vaticana: An exhibition of papal manuscripts, books, and more

May 5-August 15, 2016

An exhibition of books and manuscripts from the Middle Ages through the modern era, including papal bulls and documents, papal book bindings and representations of the Vatican in print.

This exhibit is curated by Dr. David T. Gura (Curator of Ancient and Medieval Manuscripts).

Related Events


The Promise of the Vatican Library
May 8-10, 2016

An international academic conference highlighting the holdings of the Vatican Library and opportunities for future research.

Snite Exhibit:

The Promise of the Vatican Library
May 8-22, 2016

An exhibition of twelve works from the Vatican Library's vast holdings supplements the conference. These objects, including Greek and Latin manuscripts, early printed books, fifteenth-century music, numismatics, and sixteenth- and seventeenth-century representations of the Eternal City.

Spotlight Exhibit

Ryosuke Cohen's Brain Cell 261: Mail Art from the Vagrich and Irene Bakhchanyan Collections

Detail photograph of the items on display.

April 2016

This spotlight exhibit showcases a piece of mail art sent by Ryosuke Cohen to the Soviet émigré artist and poet Vagrich Bakhchanyan (1938-2009). It is drawn from the substantial collection of mail art in the Vagrich and Irene Bakhchanyan Collections, acquired by the Hesburgh Libraries in 2013.

The exhibit is curated by Chris Holdaway, Department of English graduate student.



Native American Literature before 1924

Portrait under glass of Dante Alighieri in red robe.

Spring 2016

"We are red men still, even though we have plucked the feathers from our war bonnets and are using them for pens. The battle scene has shifted and the contest becomes one of brain and wit."

—Arthur C. Parker (Seneca)

Native American writers such as Sherman Alexie (Spokane/Coeur d'Alene), Louise Erdrich (Turtle Mountain Chippewa), and Notre Dame alumna Kimberly Blaeser (Anishinaabe) are widely recognized as prominent authors and recipients of national book awards. Their work represents a small fraction of the published work—fiction, poetry, and nonfiction prose—which for two centuries has challenged stereotypes of Native people, corrected historical and anthropological narratives of cultural conflict and change, and perhaps most importantly, promoted specific identities, political sovereignties, and rights of self-determination.

To honor this legacy, this exhibit presents a small sampling of the literature produced before 1924, when passage of the Indian Citizenship Act granted citizenship to all Native Americans.

The exhibit is curated by Robert Walls, Teaching Professor of Native American Studies and Laura Dassow Walls, Professor, English Department.


For information about previous spotlight exhibits, please refer to the History of Spotlight Exhibits page.

Upcoming Exhibits

Fall 2016

"Ingenious Exercises: Print and Physical Culture in Early Modern Europe"

Spring 2017

Catholic Americana

Suggest an Exhibit

Many of the exhibits presented by the Department of Special Collections are produced in collaboration with members of the Notre Dame teaching and research faculty and are scheduled to coincide with significant academic conferences at the University. If you have a suggestion for a future exhibit and/or would like to assist in producing one, please contact Special Collections at 631-0290 or by e-mail.