NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED356162
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992
Pages: 36
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Using Books to Illustrate a World without Them: Selecting Materials for the Newberry Library Exhibition, "America in 1492."
Swagerty, William R.
The Newberry Library, (Chicago, Illinois) lays claim to holding within the Edward E. Ayer collection the finest singler collection of books on the culture and history of native america. This paper discusses the mandates and challenges that confronted the Newberry staff when it mounted its quincentennial exhibition entitled, "American in 1492." Written by the exhibit's curator, the paper focuses on how the curatorial staff dealt with certain central facts; namely, that: (1) virtually all of the available materials were produced by Europeans; (2) the civilizations of America in 1492 all lacked printing while in many European countries printing was becoming widespread; and (3) most of these American civilizations lacked complex written records. Thus the task of the library was to mount an exhibit using primarily European print media--that offered a necessarily European perspective--to illustrate worlds lacking printed materials on the eve of the Columbian voyages. Their success in doing so is assessed, and the methodology employed by the curators in selecting among the available materials is outlined. Two hundred forty-three items became part of the actual exhibition. By category of medium they were as follows: 92 books, 8 manuscripts, 6 maps, 38 original flat art works, 44 pieces of reproduced art, 52 artifacts, 2 objects borrowed from private lenders, and 1 modern Pueblo Drum. About one-third of the items were made or interpreted primarily by native hands or voices. A checklist of items included in the exhibit is appended. (DB)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A