Special Collections Reading Room Exhibitions

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 Acting Director and Curator Lindsey Loeper.

Exhibits may be viewed during the Reading Room's open hours or by appointment.

List of exhibits

  • Spring 2016 - Presidents, Past & Present: A Biographical Portrait, March 1 - April 1, 2016. Learn more about the chancellors and presidents that have lead UMBC for the last 50 years and view photographs, documents, and publications from the University Archives. Also on display is the Ralph Coats Roe Award gold medal, awarded to Dr. Hrabowski by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 2015. Curated by Tucker Foltz, Special Collections Graduate Assistant.
  • Fall 2015 - Black History in Baltimore and Beyond, September 28 - November 13, 2015. This show, curated by Special Collections student assistant Audrey Gatewood, is made up of books, photographs, and magazines from Special Collections' holdings. Split into three parts, it provides a glance into just a few of the building blocks that make up African American history. First, there are representations of the background of Baltimore, its Black community history, the evolution of its neighborhoods and schools. Next, there are items that indicate the hardships African Americans have faced, Jim Crow laws, blockbusting, and police brutality. Finally there is material related to the Civil Rights Movement, ever-evolving struggles for fairness, people power, and activism. African American history is a wealth of complexities. This exhibit provides insight into what are just pieces of a massive narrative of the Black experience in America through literature, alternative press publications, and photographs by Roland Freeman.
  • Fall 2014 - Rhapsodies, Rhymes, and Runes: The Poetry of Special Collections, October - November 26, 2014. Co-curated by Robin Martin, Public History Graduate Candidate and Special Collections Assistant and Jazmin Smith, Art History and Museum Studies major. The works in the show illustrate some of the various collections in the Special Collections including images from the Photography Collections, science fiction poetry books from the Azriel Rosenfeld Science Fiction Research Collection, Beat Generation poetry from the rare book holdings, Maryland poems from the Arnold Collection, nineteenth century poetry from the Merkle Collection, and contemporary poetry books from the Faculty/Staff Collection.
  • Spring 2012 - All Lurid, Unsavory, Gruesome Illustrations Shall Be Eliminated: The Comics Code as seen through the UMBC Comics Collection, March - May 2012. Curated by Special Collections students Steve Ammidown and Theresa Donnelly. ".. a chance to see how self-censorship shaped the way comic books have developed over the past 70 years. Visitors can see pre-Code, Silver Age, and underground titles as well as non-Code magazines and modern graphic novels. Also part of the exhibit is rarely seen original 1970s comic book art from legendary artists such as Jack Kirby, Joe Sinnott and John Romita. Recently unearthed from the Special Collections vault, these pieces have rarely been seen in public. Shown with their published counterparts, the works provide a fascinating insight into the comic book production process."
  • Spring 2011 - Enduring Forest: The Synergy of Nature and People, April and May, 2011. Utilizing photographs from the Photography Collection, the Bafford Book Collection, and the Baltimore Sun Collection, as well as poetry from the Special Collections General Collection, this exhibit explores the complex relationship between humankind and the natural world. From reverence to destruction and back again, the modern impulse to conserve the natural environment is epitomized in our celebration of Arbor Day. Planned in conjunction with the campus-wide Arbor Day celebration, this exhibit was curated by Special Collections/Archives graduate assistants, Homira Pashai and Colleen Walter. An Arbor Day Book Display was exhibited in the Reference department related to this exhibit's theme.
  • Fall 2009 - Pictorial to Typographical Form, Fall 2009. This exhibit features work by students from Professor Kathryn Bell's Spring 2009 Graphic Design I class, including: Kelley Kepley, Erica Shin, Maria McAllister, Sarah Fillmore, Brenna Miller, Jessica Gonzalez, David Lee, Nahyung Han, Kim Thompson, Phillip Jacoby, and Kemron Senhouse. Students viewed and selected photographs from the Special Collections Photography Collections and Bafford Photography Book Collection to study the graphic and geometric forms "hidden" in the images. These forms were finally translated into typographic compostions and forms.

Special Collections Services


Reading Room open by appointment

Now Available

photo of Robert W. Fichter's art
Shae McCoy: West Baltimore Ruins