Current Exhibitions

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Exhibitions on display in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections can be viewed during its regular hours . Displays in the Great Hall can be viewed whenever Rush Rhees Library is open. Directions to Rush Rhees Library can be found here.


   Exhibition: Victoria:                                         
A Ruling Image




From 1837 to 1901, Queen Victoria ruled a British Empire that grew to span a quarter of the globe and include some 450 million people. Her reign coincided with a period of extraordinary social and technological change—and a revolution in visual culture. Images of Victoria were ubiquitous. Broadsides, weeklies, literary annuals, newspapers, engravings, souvenirs, postage stamps, coins, and photographs brought the sovereign, and the monarchy, into peoples’ homes and lives, and shaped their expectations of and responses to the real and figurative Queen. Rather than a history of the nineteenth century, the British Empire, or Victoria’s reign, this exhibition is a look at ‘framed’ imagery, for Victoria depicted was Victoria defined.

It is on view through December 20, 2019, in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections during Department hours.


   Exhibition: Arthur Sullivan & the Royal Family:                                         
an Exhibition




Drawn from the collection of Hal Kanthor, MD, this exhibit focuses on Arthur Sullivan’s connection to the Royal Family. Through photographs, theatre programs, and other ephemera that concentrates on the nineteenth century, we can get a glimpse of what entertained Queen Victoria and her family, and what captured England’s (and beyond) greater imagination. Of his collection, Kanthor says: “In the near future, I intend to transfer this collection to the University of Rochester Library as a Special Collection, with hopes that it will be used as a teaching resource for theatrical and musical history and nineteenth century advertising.”

It is on view through December 20, 2019, in the William Henry Seward Room; Department of Rare Books and Special Collections during Department hours.

   Exhibition: Portrait of Zimbabwe:                                         
The Chicago Dzviti Photograph Collection



The Chicago Dzviti Photograph Collection was acquired by the University of Rochester’s Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation in 2017. Born in rural Zimbabwe, photojournalist Chicago Dzviti (1961-1995) captured a wide range of Zimbabwean life during the early 1990s, an era in which ambitious social programs were increasingly abandoned in favor of economic structural adjustment. In the context of these social changes, Dzviti’s photographs pay close attention to issues of production and labor, documenting activities such as peasant agriculture, artisan crafts, domestic work, commercial agriculture, and urban labor movements.

It is on view through August 31, 2019, in the Friedlander Lobby of Rush Rhees Library during library hours.


   Exhibition: Sit In. Walk Out. Stand Up.                                       
   University Activism, 1962-73

Activism logo



To describe the year 1968—a year of assassinations, riots, war, and protests for civil and social rights—as a turning point, both at the University of Rochester and around the world, would be an understatement. But causes and effects of 1968 should not be viewed without the context of that which came before and after.

At Rochester, the decade of 1962-73 changed our University no less than other institutions. Issues were both local and global. Policies were questioned and revised. Students and faculty protested directly and indirectly. Limits were tested and then retested.

Some events revealed omissions at the University—in equality, diversity, and self-determination; other events affirmed the University's well-established support of free speech and academic freedom.

As much as possible, this exhibition deliberately does not focus on any single event or individual. Rather than analyze, it hopes to promote discussion, to spark memories for those who were there, and to provoke questions from those who want to know what it was like.

The exhibit is on view through August 27, 2019, in the Great Hall on the second floor of Rush Rhees Library during building hours.