Special Collections Exhibits

The Special Collections exhibits offer visitors an opportunity to experience the rich historical, photographic, and literary collections available at UMBC. In addition to the physical display areas in the Library Rotunda and the Special Collections Reading Room, exhibits are increasingly being hosted online. UMBC faculty, staff, and students interested in partnering on an exhibit should contact Emily Hauver by email at emily.hauver@umbc.com for more information.

Reading Room

The exhibit space in the Special Collections Reading Room (rm 104) has developed into a space that highlights student produced research and exhibits. Special Collections student assistants and interns work directly with faculty to select, arrange, describe, display, and promote the exhibits. Faculty interested in using the space to display course projects should contact Emily Hauver by email at emily.hauver@umbc.com for more information. A listing of previous exhibits in this space is available. Exhibits may be viewed during the Reading Room's open hours or by appointment.

Library Rotunda

Located on the first floor of the Library, this central display space is primarily used for display of short-term Special Collections exhibits or extensions of the larger shows in the Library Gallery. UMBC faculty and departments interested in using the space should contact Emily Hauver by email at emily.hauver@umbc.com for more information. A listing of previous exhibits in this space is available.

Online exhibits

These online exhibits have been created by Special Collections volunteers, student assistants, and staff. The exhibits highlight the holdings of Special Collections and provide more detail and history about the materials and subject matter.

  • Experimentalist: The Art of Robert Fichter: This online exhibit accompanies an exhibition presented at UMBC's Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery from August 28-December 18, 2019. The exhibition represents the first retrospective of the artist's career in over thirty years. Created between 1962 and 2006, the works reproduced here are drawn entirely from the Robert W. Fichter Archive at UMBC. The selection highlights the artist's experimental approach to examining the human condition. Employing shifting moods and mediums as well as wit, humor, and satire, Fichter delivers trenchant critiques of war, nuclear proliferation, and environmental disaster. Firmly rooting his expressive compositions in a strong sense of place-the surreal landscapes of his native Florida-he presents a singular vision of humanity on the brink.

    The exhibition Experimentalist: The Art of Robert Fichter was curated by Tom Beck, Curator Emeritus. The presentation at the Library Gallery was organized by Beth Saunders, Curator and Head of Special Collections.

    Online exhibit by Grace Ferguson. Texts by Tom Beck and Beth Saunders with Grace Ferguson.
  • The Radical Literature Collection at UMBC: This exhibit was created by 2021 Interdisciplinary CoLab participants Gabe Brunal, Avnee Sharma, and Sarah Nove. It includes original scholarship created by the 2021 CoLab participants.
  • The East Baltimore Documentary Photography Project records at UMBC: This exhibit was created by 2019 and 2022 Interdisciplinary CoLab participants: Ari Cacic, Ian Feldmann, Havish Maka, Pat Michael, Courtney Monaco, T. Sanders (2019); Nia Hopkins, Daniela Torres Romo, and Maria Yiannouris (2022). It includes digital stories, oral histories, and in-depth essays written by the CoLab participants.
  • The Coslet-Sapienza Collection of fanzines at UMBC: This exhibit was created by 2018 Interdisciplinary CoLab participants Marzuq Hakim, Ashley Mitchell, and Rebecca Wireman and goes into detail about our fanzine collection. It includes digital stories and in-depth essays written by the 2018 CoLab participants. Learn more about the CoLab project here.
  • Underwood and Underwood News Photography: This digital history exhibit was created by Jordan Ritchie, UMBC class of 2019, as part of her master's thesis and is meant to inform and showcase the Underwood and Underwood Photography Company and photographs from UMBC's Underwood and Underwood collection, which contains thousands of international news and wire service photos.
  • Sharing the Past, Building the Future: UMBC at 50: Learn about UMBC's first 50 years, including a timeline, the founding, diversity, innovative academics and research, student activism, student publications, student life, athletics, True Grit (mascot), presidents and administration, and campus growth.
  • Science Fiction Pulps & Fanzines: View this online exhibit and learn more about science fiction in general, the origins of sci fi pulp fiction, the sci fi community, fanzines, and notable sci fi authors.
  • Growing Baltimore: Images from the Hughes Company between the World War: Curated by three students from Denise Meringelo's Spring 2011 HIST 705, Introduction to Public History. The exhibit uses the Hughes Company Glass Negative collection from UMBC's Special Collections Department and examines the expansion and development in Baltimore after the 1918 annexation.
  • In the Archives: UMBC at 45: A sample of the records, photographs, publications, and pom-poms that document our shared campus history, presented in conjunction with American Archives Month and Homecoming 2011.
  • The Evolution of 20th Century Camera Technology from the William B. Cavanaugh Collection: This exhibit features historic cameras from the William B. Cavanaugh collection. Fascinated by cameras, Cavanaugh collected over 100 vintage cameras and camera accessories, twentieth-century cultural relics. His complete collection represents different advancements in the field of photography and technological developments that made photography easier, more accurate, and more accessible to the general public.
  • The Photography of John G. Bullock: presents an overview of nearly four decades of Bullock's photography, and highlights some of the major themes that defined his work in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Curated by Special Collections student assistant Sarah Klimek in Spring 2015; adapted and migrated to a new platform in Spring 2021 by Special Collections graduate assistant Jessica Riley.

Library Gallery

The Albin O. Kuhn Gallery serves as one of the principal art galleries in the region. Items from the Special Collections Department, as well as art and artifacts from all over the world are displayed in challenging and informative exhibitions for the University community and the public. Moreover, traveling exhibitions are occasionally presented, and the Gallery also sends some of its exhibits throughout the state and nation.

Special Collections Services


Reading Room open by appointment

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