Exhibitions & Programs


Current Exhibition

Loading events...

The exhibitions on display in the Alan and Margaret Kempner Exhibition Gallery and the Chang Octagon Room are free, handicapped accessible, and open to the general public. Exhibit hours are the same as the RBML service hours.

Exhibits are located in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Butler Library, 6th Floor, East. You must have photo ID to enter the building. Please see Directions for more information.


Public Programs

The RBML offers a robust and diverse series of public programs, including lectures, panel discussions, performances and conferences, that highlight collections and particular fields of inquiry. Guests may include living creators (artists, writers, etc.), collectors, and scholars who make use of our collections. The Book History Colloquium aims to provide a broad outlet for the scholarly discussion of book history, print culture, the book arts, and bibliographical research, and (ideally) the promotion of research and publication in these fields. Please note that while our events are free and open to the public they do require registration in advance. For information about upcoming programs and how to register for them, please see our Events Calendar.


Online Exhibitions

Arthur Mitchell

Arthur Mitchell: Harlem’s Ballet Trailblazer
This exhibition celebrates the extraordinary career and legacy of the New York City Ballet’s first African-American star and the founder and longtime director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem. This website, created in tandem with the exhibition Arthur Mitchell: Harlem’s Ballet Trailblazer, on display at the Wallach Art Gallery from January 12 to March 11, 2018, highlights material from the Arthur Mitchell Collection, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University. It also includes commissioned essays, timelines, links to publicly available sources, and other resources in addition to material from the physical exhibition. Please share this website with friends, students, and colleagues, using it to explore the rich histories behind Arthur Mitchell’s career and the Dance Theatre of Harlem, which celebrates its fiftieth anniversary in 2019, and encourage new scholarship about African Americans and ballet.

Sydney Howard Gay's "Record of Fugitives"

Sydney Howard Gay's "Record of Fugitives"
In 1855 and 1856, Sydney Howard Gay, a key operative in the underground railroad in New York City, decided for unknown reasons to meticulously record the arrival of fugitive slaves at his office.  The resulting two volumes are a treasure trove of information about how and why slaves escaped, who assisted them, and where they were sent from New York. This website explores this important artifact in detail, displaying the journals in their entirety, and offering additional annotations and analytical commentary by Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University.

Complete list of RBML Online Exhibitions.

Pine Tree Scholars

Pine Tree Scholars

The Columbia/Barnard Pine Tree Scholars program introduces Columbia and Barnard graduate and undergraduate students to the crafts associated with fine book production, such as typography, letterpress printing, bookbinding, and papermaking, as well as to the rare and art book trades. Most of these sessions include a hands-on component but no prior experience is necessary.  All sessions will take place on Friday afternoons.


Graduate Student Internship

Graduate Student Internship

The Columbia University Libraries’ Graduate Student Internship Program in Primary Sources is designed to enrich graduate studies and professional training in primary sources through an introduction to archival work, supplemented with an orientation program, networking opportunities, discussions, and tours.