University of Notre Dame


Hesburgh Libraries

Rare Books & Special Collections

Physical Exhibits in Special Collections

Policy Update:

Notre Dame students, faculty, and staff can request appointments to access the Rare Books & Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Please email Rare Books & Special Collections for research and course support or to make an appointment.

Research requests by non-ND-affiliates are also by appointment and follow the University's Summer 2021 Visitor's Policy. This policy is subject to change at the discretion of the University.


Rare Books and Special Collections regularly presents exhibits of materials from its holdings in our Exhibit Room (102 Hesburgh Library, at the west end of the 1st floor concourse) and on our Web site.

All exhibits are free and open to the public during our regular hours.

POSTPONED — Currently on Display

Graphic for the exhibit.

Paws, Hooves, Fins & Feathers: Animals in Print, 1500-1800

January - July, 2020

This exhibit is now available online!

Paws, Hooves, Fins, and Feathers presents the animals of early modern European books of natural history. A hippo, sloth, anteater, lion, and more, complement our featured rhinoceros! Classical descriptions, empirical observation, available print technologies, and imagination inform the appearance of these unique creatures. Together they offer a window into the fluid spaces between art and science, legend and observation in the European world between 1500 and 1800.

Also on exhibit are several animal specimens on loan from the University of Notre Dame’s Museum of Biodiversity. Our thanks to Barb and Ron Hellenthal for their generous assistance.

We welcome animal lovers of all ages to join us for this exhibition!

This exhibit is curated by Erika Hosselkus, RBSC Curator, Latin American Collections, and Julie Tanaka, RBSC Curator and Western European History Librarian.

POSTPONED — Spotlight Exhibits

March 2020 | The Papers of Mary Taussig Hall

Mary Taussig Hall was a social worker, community organizer, and activist whose commitment to the Progressive causes of peace and racial equality spanned most of the twentieth century. The items on display from her papers describe Mary’s path to activism as a young woman as well as her accomplished career in social work and advocacy.

This exhibit was curated by Arielle Petrovich, Instruction & Outreach Archivist, Librarian-in-Residence.



February-April 2020 | John Ruskin and Popular Taste

In conjunction with the conference "John Ruskin: Prophet of the Anthropocene", being held at Notre Dame February 7-8, 2020, this exhibit features materials from Special Collections relating to John Ruskin and his influence.

This exhibit is curated by Robert Goulding, Director, Program in History and Philosophy of Science, University of Notre Dame, and Sara Maurer, Associate Professor of English, University of Notre Dame.



For information about previous spotlight exhibits, please refer to the History of Spotlight Exhibits page.

Upcoming Exhibits

Fall 2020

Centenary of 19th Amendment / Women's Suffrage Internationally

Spring 2021

Dumbarton Oaks traveling exhibit: Juggling the Middle Ages

Fall 2021


Suggest an Exhibit

Many of the exhibits presented by the Department of Special Collections are produced in collaboration with members of the Notre Dame teaching and research faculty and are scheduled to coincide with significant academic conferences at the University. If you have a suggestion for a future exhibit and/or would like to assist in producing one, please contact Special Collections at 631-0290 or by e-mail.