Current & Featured Online Exhibitions

Class of 1956: Every Gift Tells a Story

Michael T. Sillerman ’68 Rotunda

Class of 1956: Every Gift Tells a Story

June 9 – September 30, 2016

The Library has many friends from all Cornell classes, but none so many as from the Class of 1956, often called the “Super Class” for their extraordinary gifts to the University. Class of 1956 members have helped the Library in so many ways. Their gifts—their stories—are now woven into the fabric of the Cornell story. To the Members of the Class of 1956: The great library started by our co-founder and first president, Andrew Dickson White, has been made greater by your generosity. Your spectacular gifts have immeasurably enriched Cornell University Library and its collections. We offer our sincerest gratitude and thanks on the occasion of your 60th Reunion.

Signal to Code

Hirshland Exhibition Gallery

Signal to Code: 50 Years of Media Art in the Rose Goldsen Archive

March 17 - October 14, 2016

“Signal to Code” explores 50 years of electronic and digital artwork and ephemera held in the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art. The exhibition, on display in the Hirshland Gallery of the Carl A. Kroch Library from March 17 to Oct. 14, 2016, offers a unique opportunity to experience more than 60 original electronic and digital artworks in video, sound, portable media and the Internet, on 15 separate media display stations. The exhibition also features posters, pamphlets and other items documenting the work of international media artists and the granting agencies and cultural centers that have supported this work across artistic boundaries and geopolitical zones. “Signal to Code” provides a special emphasis on the influential histories of media art in Ithaca and the Central New York region, along with the Goldsen Archive’s extensive partnerships in Asia.

Gods and Scholars


Gods and Scholars: Studying Religion at a Secular University

From its founding in 1865, Cornell University has been firmly nonsectarian, welcoming students and faculty of any religion, or no religion. This approach — controversial for its time — did not exclude religion from campus life; on the contrary, as its library collections rapidly grew, the new university sought out religious works of all types and eras. By the time the first incoming class arrived in 1868, instructors and students could access a vast array of sacred works. These materials supported courses on topics from philology, art, and architecture, to anthropology, world history, and the history of printing. This exhibition highlights some of the most significant religious texts owned by Cornell, including manuscripts from the Witchcraft Collection, an Egyptian funerary papyrus, Native American prayer books, illuminated Qurans, the Book of Mormon, and Buddhist palm-leaf manuscripts..

Lincoln's Unfinished Work Exhibition


Lincoln’s Unfinished Work

On January 31, 1865 the United States Congress passed the 13th Amendment, ending slavery in America. President Lincoln would not live to see the final ratification of the Amendment. He was assassinated on April 14 and a shocked nation mourned his death.

Cornell University Library marks the 150th anniversary of these historic events with an exhibition featuring Cornell’s manuscript of the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution—one of only 14 copies signed by Lincoln—together with other rare documents and artifacts associated with Lincoln’s funeral.

Def Jam at 30 Exhibition


Def Jam at 30: The Declarations of an Independent - 1984-1985

2014 marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of Def Jam Recordings. Now a long-established American brand, hailed as “the New York Yankees of hip-hop,” Def Jam has consistently fielded a Hall of Fame roster of artists. In the Eighties, that roster included LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, and 3rd Bass. In the Nineties, it included Method Man, Jay-Z, Ja Rule, Ludacris, and DMX. In the 21st Century, it includes Kanye West, Rick Ross, Young Jeezy, and Rihanna. Thirty years later, the label’s still going strong.

In celebration of this anniversary, the Cornell University Hip Hop Collection offers this look at 1984-85: Def Jam’s ground-breaking first year, told through rare and unique items from Bill Adler’s Hip Hop Archive.

More Online Exhibitions

For a complete listing of our exhibitions available online, please see Online Exhibitions.