Skip to main content

Exhibitions in Sterling Memorial Library: What's happening now


Pass it on: Preserving our Collective and Personal Cultural Heritage

April 15 - July 15, 2019

Curated by: Christine McCarthy, Director of the Yale Library Center for Preservation and Conservation Services with contributions from Preservation Department Staff

Opening reception and lecture, Preserving Your Personal Treasures, by curator Christine McCarthy

Thursday, April 25, 3 - 5:30

The Heritage Health Index, a landmark study conducted by Heritage Preservation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services in 2004, indicated that there were over 48 million objects and artifacts held in public trust by over 30,000 institutions in the United States. By the survey’s best estimates, collectively these institutions are stewards of 270 million rare books and scrapbooks, 152 million photographs, 4.7 million works of art, and 189 million natural science specimens. Many of these collections were considered, at the time of the survey, to be “at risk and [to] require immediate attention and care.”

The Yale University Library’s share includes 15 million bound volumes and close to 2 million photographs. Sound recordings and moving images add thousands of unique documentary and other content to that total. Digital files and their dependent software raise the stakes exponentially for cultural heritage preservation, presenting new challenges.  Caring for a collection of the size, breadth, and depth of the Yale Library may seem an impossible task, and yet it is the daily mission of the dedicated and talented staff of the Library’s Center for Preservation and Conservation. 

The exhibit showcases the artistic, surgical, scientific, and technological solutions executed by preservation specialists and conservation experts who accept the mission to preserve and conserve. Each look inside the Center’s laboratories and workrooms is paired with at-home strategies to inspire visitors to make it their mission to preserve their treasures or those of their families or communities.


Student Research at Yale University Library

October 19, 2018 - May 4, 2019 

Curators: Amy DePoy, Geeta Rao, Leland Stange, Zachary Lee Nazar Stewart

This exhibit highlights research done in Yale University Library collections by four students, each of whom has curated one section of the exhibit.

The four student curators and their exhibit topics are:
• “Blanche Knopf: Publishing the Harlem Renaissance,” curated by Amy DePoy ’19
• “Femininity, Feminism, and the Fight Over Smoking: How Virginia Slims and the American Cancer Society Captured the Attention of Twentieth-Century Women,” curated by Geeta Rao ’19
• “Democracy at Yale: Tracing the Paper Trails of the Yale Tocqueville Manuscripts,” curated by Leland Stange ’19
• “Looking Closely: The Life and Afterlife of Beinecke Manuscript 481.101,” curated by Zachary Lee Nazar Stewart, doctoral student, Graduate School of Arts and Science