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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.


The Lampoon’s Story

"Remorseless Irony and Sarcastic Pens: The Story of the Harvard Lampoon" is on display in Pusey Library through October 14. 

Lampoon cover featuring rowers in a martini glass



Celebrating Art and Life

Through Aug
Paper-cut fish

Traditional Chinese papercutting has Taoist philosophy in its making, but it is becoming less popular in China, thanks to rapid urbanization. This exhibition, on display in the Gutman Library Gallery through August 27, is intended to be both a celebration of the art form and a celebration of a local effort to clean up the Charles River—so that fish, birds, and humans can live harmoniously together.


Babar Comes to Houghton Library

Through Aug
Babar the elephant visits Houghton Library

Babar, the world’s favorite elephant, has arrived at Houghton Library! Thanks to a generous gift from Laurent de Brunhoff and Phyllis Rose, the library has acquired the archive of preparatory materials for Jean de Brunhoff’s ABC de Babar, first published in Paris in 1934. Visitors may see a selection from the collection, which includes preliminary sketches, trial drawings, final drawings, and hand-colored proofs. The finished book placed characters from the Babar stories in settings chosen to illustrate each letter of the alphabet. Also on exhibition is an original drawing by Laurent de Brunhoff that shows Babar, his ABC under his arm, mounting the steps of Houghton Library. The exhibition is on display in the Amy Lowell Room through August 31.


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.


Remorseless Irony and Sarcastic Pens: The Story of the Harvard Lampoon

Through Oct
Jester, Ibis, and Castle images

This exhibition provides a mere taste—to whet your appetite!—of some of the notable materials documenting the story of The Harvard Lampoon. Founded in 1876 by seven undergraduates, the Lampoon was inspired by magazines such as Britain’s Punch and energized by sharp competition with student publications such as The Harvard Advocate and The Harvard Crimson. On display are both original and digitally reproduced manuscripts, sketches, scrapbooks, clippings, minute books, magazines, posters, parodies, and other materials that comprise a small selection of the archives. A small accompanying exhibition, Humor at Harvard, displays related examples of joking and jesting over several centuries of Harvard students’ written and visual satire and pranks. The exhibition is on display in Pusey Library through October 2. 


From Crayons to Calligraphy: An Exhibition of Japanese Student Artwork, 1949–1951

Through Dec
Drawing of schoolchildren

This exhibition showcases a small segment of the several hundred pieces of artwork Gutman Library received as part of the Francis J. Daly Japanese Student Artwork collection, donated in 2014. The pieces depict aspects of life in Japan ranging from local landscapes to festival celebrations. Japanese elementary, middle and high school students of varying genders and geographic locations contributed to this collection of artwork that includes embroidery, origami, batique, carved wood objects, drawings, and paintings. The exhibition will run in Gutman Library's Special Collections through December. 


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. 




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.


Freshman Open House: Lamont and Beyond

Students in Lamont Library

The open house includes tours of Lamont Library, food, and prizes along with the opportunity to meet and talk with staff from other libraries and learn about library resources.


The Role of Libraries in Campus Diversity Conversations: A View from MIT and ARL

Stack of books on steps

As issues of race, inclusion, and social justice have become prominent topics on college campuses across the nation, libraries and librarians have become involved in these conversations in a variety of ways. As institutions with a long history of supporting the values of democracy, diversity, and intellectual freedom, libraries are natural partners for promoting the diversity and inclusion goals of their communities and parent institutions. In this talk, Chris Bourg will discuss how MIT and ARL are advancing diversity, inclusion, and social justice missions in and through libraries. Part of Strategic Conversations at Harvard Library.


Harvard Library All-Staff Meeting


Sarah E. Thomas, university librarian and vice president for the Harvard Library and Roy E. Larsen Librarian for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, will hold two all-staff meetings (one on September 21 and one on September 22) to update staff members on current and future library activities. There will be an opportunity for questions.


Harvard Library All-Staff Meeting


Sarah E. Thomas, university librarian and vice president for the Harvard Library and Roy E. Larsen Librarian for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, will hold two all-staff meetings (one on September 21 and one on September 22) to update staff members on current and future library activities. There will be an opportunity for questions.