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Special Collections and University Archives create unique exhibitions each year that are featured in our galleries across campus. Smaller exhibitions are featured in our reading rooms and topics rotate much more frequently. Explore our blog to learn about current small exhibitions on display.

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Hornbake Library Gallery

Rising Up JPG

Hornbake Library, Room 1202

Current exhibition

Rising Up: 100 Years of Student Activism for Justice and Civil Rights at the University of Maryland

In 2020, the world witnessed a trans-continental racial reckoning after the murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd. According to the Harvard Kennedy Carr Center, these protests saw 15 million to 26 million participants. Students from all over the country, including students from the University of Maryland, were part of the protests and demonstrations that demanded justice and equity within our nation's political, judicial, and academic systems.

This exhibition is inspired by the uprising in 2020 and the long history of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion at the University of Maryland. The exhibition centers the student activism and social movements of historically marginalized communities and their fight for civil rights including African American, Indigenous, LGBTQ+, Latinx, and Asian American students, advocates for women's rights, and students in the undocumented community. Drawing on records from over one hundred years, we piece together stories of students disrupting the status quo and demanding a more inclusive and equitable community.

Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library Gallery

Indelible Ephemera exhibit logo

Perfoming Arts Library, Room 1510

Current exhibition

Indelible Ephemera: Posters and Fliers from Special Collections in Performing Arts

An audience’s initial interaction a with a concert, a new play, or a choreographer’s new dance piece does not always occur when performers first take the stage. Promotional posters and fliers—affixed to bare walls, stapled to telephone poles, or handed out on the street—are often the first point of contact between an artistic work and audience members. In an 8 ½” x 11” leaflet or a 27” x 40” poster, graphic designers distill the core of a new work in letterform and illustration.

Indelible Ephemera celebrates these promotional materials,which were intended for short-term use but live on as artifacts of a performance, rich with enduring informational value. The exhibit highlights notable posters and fliers from the worlds of dance, theatre, popular music, and punk rock. All materials are drawn from Special Collections in Performing Arts (SCPA) at the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library.

Rarely-seen works are displayed from notable, D.C.-rooted artists like Lou Stovall, Lloyd McNeill, and Paul Reed. These works are examples of how, for many artists, designing performing arts posters was an important part of their careers, despite the work’s functional purpose. Indelible Ephemera reconsiders poster design not as separate from the creative event it promoted, but as an integral point of contact between audience and performer.

This exhibit runs through August 2024.

Irving and Margery Morgan Lowens Room

Boden Sandstrom exhibit

Perfoming Arts Library, Room 1517

Current exhibition

Boden Sandstrom: Cultivating Music, Community, and Feminism

Trail blazing sound engineer, key element of the DC Women’s Music scene, activist, librarian, and ethnomusicologist, Dr. Boden Sandstrom has worked throughout her life with diligence and intent towards justice. Special Collections in Performing Arts (SCPA) at the University of Maryland is excited to announce our new exhibit highlighting the impact of Dr. Sandstrom’s career, Boden Sandstrom: Cultivating Music, Community, and Feminism. On display in the Irving and Margery Morgan Lowens Reading Room of SCPA within the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library, this exhibit uses photographs, recordings, documents and more to showcase the far-reaching impact of Dr. Sandstrom’s life and work.

Boden Sandstrom: Cultivating Music, Community, and Feminism documents Dr. Sandstrom’s experience as a member and documentarian of the lesbian music scene in Washington, D.C. Beginning with the establishment of her sound mixing company Woman Sound Inc. (which ultimately became City Sound Productions Inc.), and concluding with her work for UMD both with audio technology and in ethnomusicology, this exhibit will show her transformation from practitioner to teacher and academic, while chronicling the local communities she touched through her work and passion.

This exhibit runs through spring 2024.

The Katherine Anne Porter Room

Hornbake Library, Room 1218

The Katherine Anne Porter Room was established by the University of Maryland in appreciation of the generosity and interest of this distinguished American author. From that time until ill health prevented it, Miss Porter came often to this room to work on her papers. She thought of it as a place where individuals could "view and enjoy her library and furnishings" in an atmosphere that reflected her personal taste and style. Today, this room serves as a permanent exhibition and is open to all visitors and free of cost.

Digital exhibitions

Each year the University Libraries creates new exhibitions showcasing items from our rare and archival collections. Explore the exhibitions below and use the categories to refine the results. Visit our galleries in the Hornbake and Michelle Smith Performing Arts Libraries for current physical exhibitions.

Smaller exhibitions

Hornbake Library features small exhibitions with content that rotates more frequently, multiple times throughout each semester. Updates about current exhibitions can often be found by following our social media accounts. 


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