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Hesburgh Libraries

Rare Books & Special Collections

Physical Exhibits in Special Collections

The Department of Special Collections regularly presents thematic exhibits of materials from its holdings in the Special Collections Exhibit Room, 102 Hesburgh Library, and on our Web site. Please follow the links in the menu at left for more information about our exhibits and exhibition schedule.

Currently on Display

Sacred Music at Notre Dame: the Voice of the Text

February 27 - July 31, 2015

Graphic for the exhibit.

This exhibition highlights the variety of medieval liturgical manuscripts and fragments housed in the University of Notre Dame's Hesburgh Library which contain music. The manuscripts featured date from the eleventh through fifteenth century, and originate from various regions in France, Germany, Austria, and Italy. Some examples represent specific uses such as Carthusian monks or Dominican nuns. Other manuscripts in this exhibit were recovered from book bindings, and serve as examples of older practices which may no longer exist in complete manuscripts.

The exhibit was featured as the cover story for ND Works in June 2015.


Rare Books & Special Collections
102 Hesburgh Library,
at the west end of the 1st Floor Concourse

Open to the public:

9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday

The exhibit is curated by Dr. David T. Gura (RBSC Curator of Ancient and Medieval Manuscripts, Early Imprints & the History of the Book).

For information on other exhibits currently on display eslewhere in the University Libraries, please refer to the Libraries exhibits page.

Spotlight Exhibits

Recent Acquisitions — Photograph Albums of Travel to Cuba, ca. 1900

Photograph of the display.

August 2015

Rare Books and Special Collections recently acquired two photograph albums of Cuba: the Liebee Family Cuba Photo Album and the Gómez Souvenir Album (right). The two albums illustrate the manner in which late nineteenth-century travelers memorialized their journeys through photography.

Advances in photographic technology made the medium more feasible and affordable for travelers of even modest means. These advances coincided with faster, more reliable, and more extensive transportation networks that enabled Americans to travel beyond their immediate region for both business and pleasure. The highly publicized military defeat of Cuba’s colonial ruler (Spain) by the United States in 1898 stimulated a great deal of interest in the island and prompted the type of travel memorialized in the two albums on display this month.

This month's spotlight exhibit is curated by David Dressing, Latin American, Latino, and Iberian Studies Librarian.


A "Behind-the-Scenes" Look at the Conservation Lab

Photograph of the display.

Summer 2015

Have you ever wondered what goes on in the conservation lab, or what is Preservation? This exhibit seeks to address your curiosity by displaying some of the main tools and materials used in the lab to repair both General and Special Collections—such as a finishing press and scuba diving weights. You can also see a book in three different stages of treatment—before, during, and after.

Questions about conservation are encouraged and you can direct them to our Tumblr page http://ndpreservation.tumblr.com/ask


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

Upcoming Exhibits

Fall 2015

Early Modern Germany

January 2016

Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night. These celebrated plays and 15 others by Shakespeare would probably have been lost to us today without the First Folio, the first collected edition of Shakespeare's plays. We have been selected as a host site for the Folger Shakespeare Library's national tour of the First Folio in 2016, so you'll have an opportunity to see this famous book up close.

Spring 2016

Centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland

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.