University of Notre Dame


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

Opening February 2015

This exhibit will provide an overview of different types of medieval music manuscripts from the late eleventh through fifteenth century, which are currently housed in the Hesburgh Library.


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


RBSC at The Snite

Hour by Hour: Reconstructing a Medieval Breton Prayer Book

January 18 through March 15, 2015

Graphic for the exhibit.

In conjunction with the annual meeting of the Medieval Academy of America in March, this exhibition focuses on reassembling a fifteenth-century book of hours that originated in Brittany, France. Of the 91 manuscript pages he has already recovered, David T. Gura, curator of ancient and medieval manuscripts at the University of Notre Dame's Hesburgh Library, selected about 35 of the most compelling examples, offering visitors an opportunity to virtually walk through a medieval prayer book, page by page. The visual appeal of the painted leaves, unusual Breton iconography, evidence of devotional practices, and newly added scientific analysis are sure to intrigue visitors from all walks of life.


O'Shaughnessy Galleries II & III
Snite Museum of Art

This exhibition is organized by Hesburgh Library, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, in collaboration with the Snite Museum of Art and is presented with support from the Snite General Endowment.

Natalia Goncharova’s Mystical Images of War, 1914

January 31 through March 22, 2015

This exhibition presents a dramatic portfolio of fourteen lithographs by the Russian avant-garde artist Natalia Goncharova (1881–1962) from the Hesburgh Libraries Collection. Published in the fall of 1914, the lithographs represent one of the earliest and most profound artistic responses to the outbreak of the Great War. They tell an epic and "mystical" story about the eternal struggle between good and evil, destruction and redemption, in which national, traditional, religious, apocalyptic, and contemporary images are intertwined.


Scholz Family Works on Paper Gallery
Snite Museum of Art

Co-sponsored by the Hesburgh Libraries, Snite Museum of Art, and the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, and organized by Russian and East European Studies Librarian Natasha Lyandres, the presentation is part of a series of lectures, courses, performances, exhibitions, and other events commemorating the First World War.

The Snite Museum of Art is open to the public (hours).

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

Spotlight Exhibit

Sebastian Brant and The Ship of Fools

Photograph of the display.

January and February 2015

This spotlight exhibit presents a satirical work titled Das Narrenschyff ad Narragoniam published by Sebastian Brant, a German jurist and humanist scholar, in Basel, Switzerland, in 1494. Lampooning and illustrating over 112 follies and vices of humankind, it became an international bestseller of the Renaissance as it was quickly translated into other languages.

On display is Notre Dame's edition of the first Latin translation — done by Jacob Locher, a student and friend of Brant, with the collaboration of the author. This edition, which was printed by Iacobus Zachoni (Jacques Sacon) in Lyon in 1498, misspells the title as Salutifera Navis. Also on display is a modern English translation by William Gillis (London: The Folio Society, 1971), as well as several illustrations reproduced from the Latin text.


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

Upcoming Exhibits

Fall 2015

Early Modern Germany

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.