Online Exhibits

Casa Italiana, 1927

Italy at Columbia From Da Ponte to the Casa Italiana

This digital exhibition is the revised and updated version—transposed online—of the gallery show of 2018 celebrating the 90th anniversary of the palazzo that houses the Italian Academy. Readers can click through the colorful pages to see the paintings, photographs, rare books, and original documents illustrating the history of the building and the dawn of Italian studies at Columbia. Starting with Lorenzo Da Ponte, Mozart’s witty librettist, the research uncovers the complex and often controversial moments in the Casa’s history, highlighting figures such as the talented but equivocal Giuseppe Prezzolini and Columbia’s president Nicholas M. Butler, as well as students and community members—both Italian and Italian-American. Published by the Italian Academy and curated by its director, Barbara Faedda.


Harriman Institute @ 75: People, Books & Archives in Pictures, 1903-2021

Since its founding in 1946, the Harriman Institute has played an important role in supporting collection-building at the Columbia Libraries, building upon groundwork from the beginning of the 20th century. The 26 illustrated text panels of People, Books & Archives, 1903-2021 capture vignettes and images on library history, personalities, and notable collections obtained and made accessible to students and scholars for more than a century. It celebrates not just the wealth of resources available on campus and beyond, but also the individuals who made them accessible. This exhibiton was curated by Edward Kasinec and Robert H. Davis, Jr., with Erica Stefano.

Instituto de las Espanas medal

The Hispanic Institute Between the Wars: The Making of Cultural Networks
Since its foundation in 1920, the Hispanic Institute for Latin American & Iberian Cultures at Columbia University (initially established as the Instituto de las Españas), has aimed to disseminate research on Iberian and Latin American cultures in all their manifestations and to promote academic and social events that showcase new contributions to Latin American and Iberian cultural production in Europe, Latin America, and the United States.

Focusing on its early decades, this centennial exhibition looks back at the Institute’s contributions within Columbia, the broader seminal influence it has had in the founding of Hispanism and Lusophone studies in the American academy, and the pivotal role it has played in fostering cultural exchange and mediating engagement with academics, writers, and artists abroad and at home. The exhibition also highlights the geopolitical dimension of the Institute and its strategic positioning between the economic expansionism of the United States in Latin America and the project of cultural revitalization of Spain after the loss of its colonies.This exhibition was curated by Felipe Becerra, PhD candidate in Latin American and Iberian Cultures and Sócrates Silva, Latin American & Iberian Studies Librarian.

Insistent Change exhibit poster

Insistent Change: Columbia's Core Curriculum at 100
In 1919 Columbia instituted a course of study known as Contemporary Civilization. It grew out of a War Issues course offered during World War I and was required of every student in order to provide all with a forum to analyze and discuss primary texts relevant to contemporary problems. Proceeding roughly by decade, this exhibition shows how the course transformed and developed over the years. By also focusing on the development of the Core Curriculum as a whole, the exhibition explains how CC's faculty, administrators and students have worked together to keep the course relevant through a succession of crises and changes in the broader political, economic and social realms in the country and the world.

This online exhibition is based on a physical exhibition of the same name which was on display in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library in February and March 2020.

John Jay exhibition and conference poster

In Service to the New Nation: The Life & Legacy of John Jay
Few leaders of the new American nation had more influence than John Jay (1745–1829) or could match his contributions in all three branches of government, at both state and national levels. As part of the broader events celebrating the near completion of the seven volumes of The Selected Papers of John Jay publication project based at Columbia University, this exhibit aims to shed light on the different aspects of Jay's personal, familial, and public life and discuss his many civic accomplishments in shaping America's governance, diplomacy, and judiciary. This online exhibition was released in conjuction to In Service to the New Nation: The Life & Legacy of John Jay, a two-day virtual conference (January 22-23, 2021). It includes John Jay's days as a student at King's College, with information about the curriculum (Laws of King's College), the dining plan menus (the Bill of Fare), his fellow students (matriculation register), and even John Jay's M.A. diploma. 


Roar, Lion, Roar exhibit poster

Roar, Lion, Roar: A Celebration of Columbia Football
Focusing on players, coaches, playing fields, and the games won and lost, this exhibition traces the arc of Columbia’s football program from its inception in 1870 to the present day. As one of the oldest college programs in the country, Columbia Football has a rich and fascinating history which the University Archives is delighted to share and celebrate through this display of historical materials from our collection.

This online exhibition is based on a physical exhibition of the same name which was on display in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library from August 26 to December 20, 2019.

Experience the 1968 Columbia Protests in Real Time

@1968CU on Twitter
What if the University and the Columbia Spectator had used Twitter to report on the protests and rallies of 1968 in real time? Follow @1968CU on Twitter to see the events leading up to the explosive demonstrations in April and May with the "live" reporting of this significant moment in Columbia University history.


1968: Columbia in Crisis
The occupation of five buildings in April 1968 marked a sea change in the relationships among Columbia University administration, its faculty, its student body, and its neighbors. Featuring original documents, photographs, and audio from the University Archives, this online exhibition examines the causes, actions, and aftermath of a protest that captivated the campus, the nation, and the world.


Columbia University & Slavery
The Columbia University & Slavery website created by faculty, students, and staff to publicly present information about Columbia’s historic connections with the institution of slavery. Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History, led a research course in the spring of 2015 on the role of slavery in Columbia’s early history. At the end of that spring semester, Foner’s class of undergraduates presented their novel findings to both their professor and President Lee C. Bollinger. From those discussions, the Columbia University & Slavery project was initiated to draw on further research to be conducted by faculty and students. Student work was continued in the spring 2016 course under Thai Jones, Department of History Lecturer and Lehman Curator for American History at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, with the resulting student and faculty research added to this website.


Nathaniel Fish Moore Nathaniel Fish Moore, self-portrait

Nathaniel Fish Moore Photographs
Nathaniel Fish Moore was a student at Columbia (AB 1802, MA 1805), a professor of Greek and Latin (1817-1835), an honorary degree recipient (LLD 1825), the first College Librarian (1837-1839) and the eighth Columbia President (1842-1849). In his retirement, Moore became an early amateur photographer. This exhibition focuses on his life outside of Columbia as he devoted his time to the nascent art of photography, in particular the salt print paper-based photographic process. As an early amateur photographer, Moore prepared his own chemicals and papers. He captured views of New York City and the Highlands of the Hudson area, his family and even a few self-portraits.

Butler Library Renovation Web Archive
This is a link to the archived web pages (2012) which documented the Butler Library renovation project completed in 2010. During this project, the reading rooms were expanded and refurbished. The mechanical, electrical, telecommunications, air conditioning, heating, fire protection, security and lighting systems were upgraded. Overall, Butler became a better place to study and work.


Columbia Maison Française: Centennial 1913-2013

This online exhibition presents the expanded digital format of the physical exhibition Columbia Maison Française: Centennial 1913–2013: Celebrating a Century of French Culture and Ideas at Columbia University in New York, on display at the Columbia Maison Française, September 5 to October 30, 2013. The exhibition was curated by Shanny Peer and co-presented by the Maison Française and Columbia's Rare Book & Manuscript Library. The exhibit documents the history, development and major events of this important cultural institution at Columbia University.

Varsity Show program cover, 1912. Varsity Show program cover, 1912.

Varsity Show: A Columbia Tradition
Initially conceived as a fundraiser for the University's athletics teams, The Varsity Show has grown into Columbia University's oldest performing arts tradition. This online exhibition, highlighting the history and some of the more notable elements of this tradition, is an expansion of a physical exhibit created by the University Archives in 2004 to mark the 110th anniversary of The Varsity Show.

Morningside Heights Digital History
This set of exhibits highlights some of the most important and distinctive aspects of the Morningside Heights transformation by documenting the construction and expansion of its key sites, such as the Bloomingdale Asylum, the Lion Brewery, the Leake and Watts Orphan House, St. Luke’s Hospital and others. Visitors can view maps, photographs, architectural drawings, newspaper clippings, postcards, and other materials, all of which provide an intimate look at the creation of modern Morningside Heights. These exhibits were curated by The Developing Librarian team at Columbia University.

Butler 75: Butler Library's 75th Anniversary, 1934-2009
In celebration of Butler Library's 75th anniversary, we are pleased to present Butler 75, an online exhibition of Butler Library, 1934–2009. The exhibition features images from the University Archives highlighting the construction, art and architecture of Butler Library, and the people who've used and enjoyed the library over the years. Special features include a timeline of events and a "Tell Us Your Story" area of alumni memories.