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: To Reach Our Farthest Star
   Leading the University of Rochester, 1850-2019

In his 1963 inaugural address, President W. Allen Wallis noted that if the University of Rochester did not already have a fine motto in Meliora, it might choose To each his farthest star as a pledge and exhortation to its students "to do more and different things than is expected… to be driven by [our] own inner expectations and standards."

As the University prepares to inaugurate Sarah Mangelsdorf as its eleventh president, this exhibit will highlight the work of her predecessors in creating and transforming the intellectual, physical, and cultural foundations of the university we have today.

The exhibit is on view in the Great Hall on the second floor of Rush Rhees Library during building hours.

   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.