Library Exhibits & Displays

Overview of Library Exhibits & Displays


The University Library (which includes James G. Leyburn Library & Telford Science Library) features many spaces that are perfect for housing exhibits and displays.

The University Library defines an exhibit as a selection of items (either physical or virtual) paired with accompanying textual, visual, or auditory content which serves as a form of communication between the library (or its guest curators) and its visitors.

A library display is a selection of items (either physical or virtual) with little provided interpretation.

Guest Curate a Library Exhibit or Display

The University Library encourages W&L faculty/staff and students to submit exhibit ideas and act as guest curators of our exhibit and display spaces. Curating an exhibit in the University Library can serve as a scholarly exercise for courses or an exciting activity for campus organizations!

The library can help guest curators with the research, setup, and printing required for exhibits and displays. Additionally, the library maintains a thorough Exhibit/Display Manual to help guest curators navitage the exhibit/display creation process.

If you are interested in guest curating an exhibit or display, please contact Emily Cook, Instructional Design Specialist.

Current Physical Exhibits

Below is a list of the current exhibits in the University Library. Exhibits can be visited during normal library operating hours. Short running-exhibits may not be listed.

Shakespeare’s Bad Quarto: a Modern Artists’ Book on the Earliest Hamlet

Shakespeare's Bad Quarto ExhibitOn Leyburn’s Main Floor
The focal point of this exhibition is the Bad Quarto — a book created by a collective of book artists at the Virginia Arts of the Book Center (VABC) in Charlottesville, Virginia. The earliest published edition of Shakespeare’s Hamlet was published in a small “paperback” edition, known as a quarto, in 1603. Known as the “first quarto” or sometimes the “bad quarto,” this earliest version (Q1) is much shorter and quite different from later published versions, including the Second Quarto in 1604 or the First Folio in 1623. Speculation abounds to explain the differences between the first quarto and later editions.

The Virginia Arts of the Book Center is a workspace for book artists who do letterpress printing, bookbinding, papermaking, design, and printmaking. Every year, the VABC creates a collective project; in 2015, the project was the Bad Quarto, an artists’ book interpretation of Q1, involving more than 20 printers, artists, and book binders. Fifty-five copies of the book were produced. The book is exhibited in two forms: the finished, bound book itself and a display of the 64 unbound pages of artwork, graphics, and printed text.

The Steward’s House: A History of Life on Washington and Lee’s Back Campus

Anthropology ArtifactsOn Leyburn’s Lower Level 1, Outside Special Collections & Archives
This exhibit was curated by the students of Sociology and Anthropology 230 – “Discovering W&L’s Origins Using Historical Archaeology” taught by W&L Research Archaeologist and Instructor Donald A. Gaylord during Winter term 2016.

Digital Exhibits

As of the summer of 2015, all physical exhibits within the University Library will have an accompanying digital exhibit. Browse online exhibits via via Digital Exhibits at Washington and Lee University Library.

Digital exhibits do not need to be tied to a physical library exhibit. If you are interested in creating a digital exhibit for a scholarly or curricular reason, please contact Digital Scholarship Librarian, Alston Cobourn.

Exhibit & Display Calendar

Below is the calendar for current and upcoming exhibits and displays.

Poster Exhibit: A Journey Through Brownsburg, Virginia in 1860–An African-American History Presentation @ Main Floor / Leyburn Library
Apr 4 – May 6 all-day

Poster exhibit curated by Professor Sascha Goluboff.

“In this poster series, a fictionalized Mr. Samuel Winthrop meets several important African-American men and women who lived in the Brownsburg community. While this narrative is a piece of creative writing, the individuals depicted are as close to historically accurate as possible, in part due to my use of archival documents found in Washington and Lee University’s Special Collections.”–Professor Goluboff.

Shakespeare Exibit @ Exhibit Niche / Main Floor / Leyburn Library
Apr 5 – May 3 all-day

Co-Curated by

Gordon Ball Exhibit @ Exhibit Niche / Main Floor / Leyburn Library
May 4 – Jul 13 all-day
Design/Build/Fly Exhibit @ Exhibit Niche / Main Floor / Leyburn Library
Aug 22 – Sep 30 all-day
Teaching with University Collections @ Exhibit Space / Main Floor / Leyburn Library
Nov 1 – Dec 2 all-day
Winter Celebrations Display @ Exhibit Space / Main Floor / Leyburn Library
Dec 5 2016 – Jan 13 2017 all-day

Featuring…a book tree!!!

UCAH Exhibition @ Exhibit Space / Main Floor / Leyburn Library
May 1 – Jul 31 all-day

*Exhibit dates are subject to change.*

Longterm Displays

Several longterm displays are housed within the University Library. Many of these are art pieces that have been installed by W&L’s University Collections of Art and History.

If you have questions about a piece of art not listed in the below table, please contact University Collections of Art and History.

Display TitleImageDescription
Library Posters by
Lance Hidy
hidycolumbiaPosters by graphic artist Lance Hidy. Gifted by Barbara Brown, former University Librarian. Located in Leyburn’s Main Floor Book Nook.
Sacred to the Memory Sacred to the MemoryArtistic photographs by Jan Tratnik of the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington. Created in 2013, Tratnik donated this collection of 25 images to the University Library. Located on Leyburn’s Lower Level 1.

Procedures & Policies

The University Library has developed procedures and best practices for curating/creating exhibits and displays, which are outlined in our Exhibit & Display Manual.

While also included in the Exhibit & Display Manual, policies governing the curation/creation of exhibits and displays are available for review on our policies webpage.

Need More Help?

Emily Cook