Past Exhibitions

Exhibitions

List of past exhibitions

The Libraries has been creating exhibitions since the late 1980's. The list below includes exhibitions held from 1989-2006 that have appeared in our main exhibition gallery located in the National Museum of American History, and other sites around Washington, DC and New York, NY.

Come Together: American Artists Respond to Al-Mutanabbi Street

Opens February 1, 2016 at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery Library

Color in a New Light

Name a topic that links science, history, art, and culture. How about color? Let’s follow the theme of color through the vast collections of the Smithsonian Libraries, and make a few unexpected connections and discoveries. Color in a New Light launched in January 2016 and will run for 14 months in the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.

Fantastic Worlds

Travel with us to the surface of the moon, the center of the earth, and the depths of the ocean — to the fantastic worlds of fiction inspired by 19th-century discovery and invention. Now open at the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.

Once There Were Billions: Vanished Birds of North America

Once an amazing diversity of birds–some in breathtaking abundance–inhabited the vast forests and plains of North America. But starting around 1600, species began to disappear, as humans altered habitats, over-hunted, and introduced predators. The story of the last Passenger Pigeon and the disappearance of the Great Auk, Carolina Parakeet, and Heath Hen reveal the fragile connections between species and their environment. 

Artists' Books and Africa

Since artists’ books are not normally associated with African art, our goal in this exhibition is to introduce the genre and survey its “African” manifestations. Opens September 16, 2015 at the National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC.

Underwater Web: Cabling the Seas

A century and a half ago, the world suddenly became smaller when an underwater telegraph cable joined two nations divided by the sea. From that first link, a vast web spread across the globe.

Whales: From Bone to Book

The Smithsonian Libraries opened its new exhibition "Whales: From Bone to Book" in the National Museum of Natural History on May 25, 2013. This exhibition is a joint production of the Libraries and the Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History. "Bone to Book" will be on display on the ground floor through April 2014.