After the fall of Singapore to the Japanese in February 1942, captured civilians were interned in two camps on the island, initially at Changi Gaol until May 1944, when they were moved to Sime Road. This exhibition draws on unique archives of the camps preserved in the Royal Commonwealth Society collections which allow us vividly to reconstruct the internees’ lives.
Find out why the University Library has a pair of Indian slippers in its collections, how psychic thumbprints were made, and why Charles Darwin was sent beard hair in the post. From an ostrich feather and ectoplasm to an old boot and a boomerang, the curious objects in this exhibition all have a part to play in telling the story of the Library, and form a cabinet of curiosities that opens a window onto the nature of collecting.
Since the early twentieth century the Library has maintained a collection known as ‘Arc’ (for arcana), which includes books of an erotic nature which were believed to be potentially corrupting to students, giving an interesting reflection of contemporary morals. The class is now used for books received under legal deposit which are considered to be unusually offensive (generally pictorial works) and for books which have been withdrawn by publishers for various reasons. This exhibition features a selection of material from the collection, from a seventeenth-century Venetian novel to an early edition of Ulysses.
Miguel de Cervantes died in 1616. This anniversary is an opportunity to showcase some rarely seen material from a wide number of collections within the University Library, focusing on Cervantes’ most celebrated character: Don Quixote. The aim is to highlight some of the ways in which this figure has been appropriated by readers, artists and other writers throughout the centuries. This exhibition features a wide range of beautifully illustrated material.
View online by clicking on the image to the left.
To complement our major exhibition, Curious Objects, we have collected twenty more curiosities, from a biscuit tin globe to advice on ‘Bicycling for Ladies’. Thanks to support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Library has photographed these items and made them available in this special Collected Curiosities online exhibition. A selection will be on display in the Library Entrance Hall from 3 to 10 December.
In 1866, the great novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky published his most famous work. Set in St Petersburg and Siberia, Crime and Punishment follows the story of student-turned-murderer Rodion Raskolnikov. This exhibition, curated by a mixed group of arts and sciences students at the University of British Columbia, is part of a transatlantic project to celebrate Crime and Punishment as the novel turns 150.
Lines of Thought celebrates 600 years of the University Library by tracing six key concepts that have shaped the world, and uncovering the role Cambridge University Library and its collections have played in the development of those concepts over six hundred years; from 1416 back to the third millennium BCE and forward to the present day, this exhibition includes some of the most iconic treasures in the Library.
Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown (1716–1783) remains one of the most influential figures in British garden history. Only a tiny minority had the estate and the money needed to realise his schemes, but the expanding publishing industry served the largest audience for his landscapes – the armchair traveller. A legion of artists served this market, recording Brown’s work in pencil, oil, watercolour and ink. This exhibition reveals some of the rich pictorial record of Brown’s landscapes.
In 1216 St Dominic settled a religious community of preachers at Saint-Romain in Toulouse. In 2016 the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) celebrates its 800th anniversary. This exhibition marks the central role that books have played in the work of the Order over eight centuries.
To view the major new virtual exhibition, click the image to the left.
The Canon of Medicine (Al-Qānūn fī al-ṭibb) of the Persian polymath Avicenna (Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Al-Ḥasan ibn ʿAlī ibn Sīnā, 980–1037) was one of the most influential medical texts in both the medieval Arabo-Islamic world and in pre-modern Europe, and it is no surprise that such a pervasive treatise should be found among the 200,000 fragments of manuscripts of the Cambridge Genizah Collections. This exhibition presents a sample.
View online by clicking the image to the left.