Exhibitions

THE JOHN CARTER BROWN LIBRARY staff and invited curators prepare public exhibitions of material selected from the collections.


Global Americana: The Wider Worlds of a Singular Collection is on view through Fall 2017. 

From its foundational core of Americana purchased in 1846, the John Carter Brown Library has always been a global collection. The connections between America and other regions around the world have consistently been a central theme in the Library’s acquisition policies. Even more so today: as we continue to acquire new books, maps, and prints, we are paying close attention to broader connections, largely in response to the Library’s researchers who incessantly push the conventional geographical boundaries in their own historical scholarship. In conjunction with the LAGLOBAL research network at the University of London (of which the JCB is one of several institutional partners) and researchers at the Library, Global Americana has been conceived as a collectively curated exhibition that highlights not only the JCB’s globe-spanning collection, but also the ingenuity of scholars from around the world who are taking advantage of its materials to advance research in a global frame.

The exhibition takes its viewers on a journey through different geographies, genres, and languages. Cohering around the American continent, the texts chosen nevertheless speak to connections that move beyond continental and disciplinary borders. From China to the Nile, from natural history to the philosophical treatise, from indigenous Andeans to European creoles and American whalers, these selections also have a deeply personal angle, since many of them were chosen by scholars who have either been in residence at the JCB or who are part of a global network that seeks to emphasize Latin America’s place at the center of global historical developments. What they demonstrate most forcefully is that there are many worlds – and not just American ones – beneath the surface of our extraordinary collection. And with any hope at all, cosmopolitans and our local community members alike will come to see the Library as a refuge for global thinking at a moment where too many barriers unfortunately still abound.

The Americas on Fire is on view through June 2017. Guest curated by historians Jake Frederick (Lawrence University, USA) and Júnia Furtado (Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil), The Americas on Fire depicts fire harnessed for agriculture, embraced as a mechanism for communicating with the divine realm, and wielded in combat by Native Americans and European colonizers alike. 

"So What'd I Miss?": Lafayette, Jefferson, and Hamilton at the John Carter Brown Library will be on view from May 26 through early October. The exhibit treads the same historical ground as the Tony and Grammy Award winning musical Hamilton and commemorates Daveed Diggs'04 receiving a Brown honorary degree this year. Come explore the JCB's extraordinary collection of materials related to the Founding Fathers and the late-colonial era in the U.S.

Recent exhibitions may also be visited virtually. The online version serves as a record of an exhibition and ensures that our audience will be able to view the treasures of the John Carter Brown Library from any place on earth with internet access. Many of these books may be seen in their entirety online on the JCB's Internet Archive site.

The digital component of the most recent exhibition, Women of the Page, will be available soon.

March to August 2007
Rick Ring and Ted Widmer