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Indiana University Bloomington

Exhibitions & Events: Current exhibitions

It is the role of the Lilly Library to stimulate the intellectual curiosity of both the dedicated researcher and the casual visitor. In order to achieve this, the Library promotes a wide range of activities including exhibitions and special events such as poetry readings, musical performances and receptions, as well as lectures, tours, and class presentations.

Main Gallery

Globalization of the United States, 1789-1861
September 15 - December 18, 2014

Between the American Revolution and the American Civil War the United States built a continental nation -- and it also built a global empire. In 1789 the country amounted to no more than a fragile collection of thirteen seacoast states encircled by the British empire to the north, the Spanish empire to the south, and many Native American nations to the west. By the fateful year of 1861 the United States had managed to expand across North America and to project diplomatic, commercial, military, missionary, and scientific power into every corner of the wider world, second only to the British empire.

Projecting the reach of the United States throughout the world required the effort and determination of many Americans willing to cross vast ocean distances on sailing ships and steamships ... to negotiate, to trade, to battle, to proselytize, to explore. It moreover required the knowledge and promotion of many writers urging their countrymen to venture across the globe in the face of opposition and indifference at home, and competition and resistance abroad. Over the course of three generations Americans would succeed in shrinking the geographical distance between the United States and almost every other place in the world -- even as they would come to magnify the cultural distance between themselves and almost every other people on the globe.

This exhibition gleans from the Lilly Library’s exquisite collection of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century books to capture this paradox of interconnection and disconnection enacted by a nation attaining continental size and an empire reaching global scale. The formative era between the American Revolution and the American Civil War helps us appreciate how difficult efforts to extend the global reach of the United States were in the century before the so-called "American Century," and it remains highly instructive as Americans confront dilemmas of globalization and imperialism in the present day.

Konstantin Dierks, Associate Professor, Department of History, Indiana University, and curator of the exhibition, will give a public talk followed by a reception on October 9 at 5:30 p.m.


Slocum Puzzle Room

Book Bites: Texts that Influenced and Reflected How America Eats
September 1 - November 26, 2014

Food Bites celebrates food writing in multiple genres beyond the tried and true cookbook. Whether they are works of fiction, memoir, travel writing, or non-fiction, texts that discuss meals and/or the joys of eating extend the traditions of hospitality: writers invite their readers into their virtual kitchens. This exhibition suggests that talking and reading about food and cooking is a vital way through which we affirm membership in our various roles: women exchange tips on how to feed their families or teach children to cook; food professionals share secrets with novices or amateurs; a nation calls on its citizens to fulfill their patriotic duty during wartime; immigrants explain their foodways to new compatriots; skilled virtuosos demonstrate how science and technology have changed the way we cook and eat. Books about food inform, challenge, entertain, and keep us coming back for more.

Food Bites was curated by Vivian Nun Halloran. She is an associate professor of American Studies and English at Indiana University Bloomington, where she also directs the Asian American Studies Program. She is one of the organizers of the 2014 Themester Eat, Drink, Think: Food from Art to Science.

"A World of Puzzles"

A selection of puzzles from the world's largest collection of mechanical puzzles. Read more about these intriguing objects in the Guide to the Collections: Slocum Puzzle Collection.

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Last updated: 29 September 2014

The Lilly Library, 1200 East Seventh Street, Bloomington, Indiana, 47405-5500   Tel. 812-855-2452  Fax. 812-855-3143

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