Paper Engineering: Fold, Pull, Pop & Turn presents more than 50 examples of action-packed constructions and inspired works of art spanning 500 years. We hope exhibition visitors will experience these rarely seen treasures as their creators intended—as remarkable works that calculate, educate, entertain, and amaze.

The Dance of the Tunnel Book

Dance of the tunnel

Tunnel books or peep shows are a series of cut-paper panels placed one behind the other, creating the illusion of depth and perspective. Often, these are engineered like an accordion, with the two boards pulling apart and the illustrated panels lined up and viewed through a front peep-hole or viewer.

A recent purchase by the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum Library is an 18th century tunnel book attributed to the engraver and print-seller Martin Engelbrecht (1684-1756) of Augsburg, Germany.

The Fascinating Art of Paper Engineering ... Installing the Exhibit

Bee from a popup book

The fascinating art of paper engineering is the focus of a new exhibit that is on display in the Libraries’ gallery at the National Museum of American History. Paper Engineering: Fold, Pull, Pop, and Turn includes 44 books that range in date from the mid-16th to the early 21st centuries, creating a fascinating retrospective of volumes, which were designed and constructed with parts that move.