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Exhibitions & Events

Highlights of ongoing and upcoming events from across Harvard's libraries. Find more events by visiting the Harvard Library calendar, or submit a library event.


‘A Language to Hear Myself’

The exhibition "A Language to Hear Myself": Feminist Poets Speak is open through June 17 in Schesinger Library.

"Poetry is not a luxury"



The Charlie Archive at the Harvard Library, 2015–

Through May

The attacks of January 7, 8, and 9, 2015 against the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in Paris sparked a vigorous debate about fundamental political and ethical issues, such as freedom of expression, the relation between state, religion and society, respect for other beliefs and perspectives, inequality, and the disenfranchisement of individuals and communities. The Western Languages Division at Widener is currently building a collection of materials produced in the aftermath of these events. The Charlie Archive at the Harvard Library, 2015– contains a wide array of materials, including manuscript, printed, digital, and ephemeral content, from a diverse range of perspectives. This exhibition presents a selection of representative materials from the archive, including magazines, books, handmade signs, and digital images. The exhibition is on display through May 27 on the third floor of Lamont Library.


"The Genius C.B.": Charlotte Brontë, 1816–1855

Through Jun

Despite a tragic young life, punctuated by the deaths of her mother and siblings, Charlotte Brontë grew to be one of the most important writers of the Victorian period. Her semi-autobiographical novel Jane Eyre, published in 1847 under a pseudonym, turned her into a reluctant celebrity, and the revolutionary work has influenced countless writers and artists. This exhibition includes juvenilia, manuscripts and first editions, and examples of the influence of Brontë’s work. It is on view in the Amy Lowell Room at Houghton Library through June 3.


100 Years of Chinese Piano Music

Through Jun
100 Years of Chinese Piano Music

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first publication of piano music in China. To commemorate the occasion, the Shanghai Conservatory Press produced a ten-volume anthology of piano works by Chinese composers which documents the evolution of expression from a relatively simple use of pianistic techniques to a gradual assimilation of Western musical styles. This exhibition traces that development by showcasing signature works and personalities along with milestone events in that eventful century of piano music in China. It is on display in the French Gallery of the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library through June 4. 


"A Language to Hear Myself": Feminist Poets Speak

Through Jun

In the US women’s movement of the 1960s and 1970s, poetry experienced a renaissance as a political art form that gave women the means to articulate their shared lived experiences. Poetry and activism entered into a dynamic exchange, becoming spaces where women could reimagine the world. This exhibition celebrates the ways that feminist poets fashioned words and ideas into a powerful form of personal and political expression, featuring Schlesinger Library’s collections of five renowned poets who had a profound impact on the literary world, the women’s movement, and individual women’s lives: June Jordan, Eve Merriam, Honor Moore, Adrienne Rich, and Jean Valentine. Their work reveals the intersection of sexual politics and personal expression, and this exhibition highlights their legacy as artists and activists who continue to inspire new feminisms. It is on display at Schlesinger Library through June 17. 


Henry James: Commemoration

Through Aug
Henry James

“We possess a great man most when we begin to look at him through the plate glass of death.“ Henry James penned those words as part of his tribute to Robert Browning. Visitors to this Centennial Exhibition can look at James himself through the plate glass of eight display cases, filled with books, manuscripts, photographs, and many other collateral testaments to a great man’s legacy. You will see some of the many forms through which James obeyed a deeply felt need to eulogize others—and even to commemorate the halting evolution of his own consciousness. While some have alleged that James was drawn to morbid plots and characters in his fiction, in his more personal writing—in his letters and private journals—occasions of mortality more typically provoke an almost Transcendental response, a kind of sacred reflex, urging him to hallow the memory of those he has lost. The exhibition is on display through August 12 in Houghton Library's Edison and Newman Room.


The Land Remains: A Century of Conservation in America's National Parks

Through Sep
Map featuring national parks

The maps in this exhibition showcase units of the National Park Service in all stages of their history. Many date from before the idea of the government preserving areas of natural beauty or cultural significance had even formed. Many are from the first days of preservation of a site. Some show the process of creating a park and the struggle to protect and preserve hallowed ground while still allowing in the people for whom it is preserved. We hope that these maps will remind you of the beauty and importance of this country’s natural and cultural treasures, and inspire you to #FindYourPark. The exhibition is on display in Pusey Library through September 26.


Corpus Delicti: The Doctor as the Detective

Through Dec

Although seemingly distinct disciplines, medicine and law—as medical jurisprudence, forensic medicine, or legal medicine—have been intertwined for centuries, and legal medicine itself encompasses a wide range of subjects, such as toxicology, psychiatry, chemistry, pathology, anatomy, autopsy, and suicide. Harvard Medical School’s involvement with legal medicine as both academic discipline and public service is the focus of a new display at the Countway Library. Corpus Delicti: The Doctor as the Detective is open through December, 2016 on the L2 level of the library.



The Bull Moose and the China Cabinet: Theodore Roosevelt, the Progressive Party, and the Women’s Suffrage Movement

Through Jan

Following the Republican Party’s nomination of incumbent William Howard Taft for president in 1912, supporters of Theodore Roosevelt’s candidacy formed the Progressive Party, which centered upon returning power to the people and creating a more equitable country by the right treatment of its citizens. For nearly 100 years, women had been fighting for equal rights on every front—education; labor; and intellectual, moral, legal, and human rights. Roosevelt’s Progressive Party placed women’s suffrage in its official platform. It was the first major political party to do so. This exhibition examines Roosevelt’s evolving position on women’s suffrage, and includes a page from his Harvard senior paper on women’s rights, correspondence, contemporary newspaper accounts and political cartoons, and artifacts documenting the role and influence of the women in Roosevelt’s life. It is on display through January 31, 2017, in the Theodore Roosevelt Gallery in Pusey Library. 




Prescription Drug Abuse in American History: Lessons from a Century of Failures and Occasional Successes


David Herzberg, associate professor in the Department of History, SUNY Buffalo, specializes in the history of medicine with a particular interest in how encounters with health and illness have been transformed in America’s 20th-century consumer culture. His work explores these issues in the context of modern prescription pharmaceuticals, especially sedatives, stimulants, and painkillers.


Competition and Compassion in Chinese Secondary Education


Competition and Compassion in Chinese Secondary Education examines the nature of academic competition in Chinese schools and demonstrates its debilitating effects on adolescents' psychosocial development. Zhao shows how global economic competition induces changes in national education policies, which in turn shapes how school-aged youth are encouraged by their parents and teachers to relate to others and society. Facing extreme pressures of global economic competition, how can education both in the East and West sustain the kind of humanistic learning that is critical for promoting public reasoning or discourse? The book proposes a research-based approach for balancing academic achievement with the promotion of social and civic engagement in China and elsewhere. A Gutman Library Distinguished Author Series event. 



Preservation Week Kickoff


Celebrate Library Preservation Week 2016: Try your hand at sewing a book, put a jacket on an at-risk book, learn how to preserve your digital life, and more. Sign up to enjoy an insider’s perspective on the art of exhibition design with a tour of Houghton Library’s current show, Shakespeare:  His Collected Works, led by conservation and curatorial staff. Come and learn what Preservation does for you!


Visual Storytelling: Comics in the Collections


Comics are a unique art form, combining words and pictures into a remarkable language all its own. They exist in many formats, from wordless woodcut picture stories from the early 20th century to biographic accounts of the Holocaust. Join speakers Peter Kuper and Jenny Robb as they explore the history and vast possibilities of this medium, including: What exactly makes comics so elusive to the content organizational structure of an academic library? What are the challenges researchers and scholars face when it comes to finding comics in the collections? As the art form evolves, what are the challenges facing libraries that collect them? Part of Strategic Conversations at Harvard Library. 


Teaching and Learning for the 21st Century

Abstract cover image

Teaching and Learning for the 21st Century: Educational Goals, Policies, and Curricula from Six Nations, edited by Fernando M. Reimers and Connie K. Chung, describes how different nations have defined the core competencies and skills that young people will need in order to thrive in the 21st century, and how those nations have fashioned educational policies and curricula meant to promote those skills. The book examines six countries—Chile, China, India, Mexico, Singapore, and the United States—exploring how each one defines, supports, and cultivates those competencies that students will need in order to succeed in the current century. Part of the Gutman Library Distinguished Authors series. 


Tour of Widener Library


Widener Library tours are offered every Thursday at 3 pm, except University holidays and Commencement. Tours are open to current Harvard affiliates. The tours provide an introduction to Widener Library’s collections, an orientation to the building and an explanation of services available to library patrons. All tours begin in the main lobby of Widener, and will last approximately one hour. No registration is required.


Tour of Houghton Library

Houghton Library

Public tours of Houghton Library are offered every Friday at 2 pm. Attendees receive a general introduction to the library, followed by a tour of the Emily Dickinson, Amy Lowell and John Keats rooms, as well as the suite devoted to the Donald & Mary Hyde Collection of Dr. Samuel Johnson. Those wishing to take the tour should meet in the Houghton Library lobby. Reservations are not required.