Browse Exhibits (45 total)

Gold Medal Club 1970

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Congratulations to the Class of 1970 from each of us at the University of Kansas Libraries. In your honor, enjoy a digital exhibition of memorabilia from your time on the KU campus. With a variety of photographs and digitized materials from the University Archives, located in Kenneth Spencer Research Library, we hope you will be transported back in time to remember your years on the Hill. 

This is an online exhibit from Spring 2020. The exhibit was created by Molly Herring, Associate Archivist, University Archivies, Kenneth Spencer Research Library.


The 1918 Influenza Epidemic at KU

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The current outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID 19) has caused the University of Kansas to modify its operations by severely limiting who is on campus, and moving all course instruction online. This is not the first time that University leaders had to make difficult decisions in the interest of public health. In the fall of 1918, the University administration declared a quarantine for all students and cancelled all activities, including all instruction, as a flu epidemic swept through the city.

This is an online and expanded version of a physical exhibit that was on display in Kenneth Spencer Research Library in the fall of 2018, the 100th anniversary of the 1918 flu epidemic. The exhibit was created by Kathy Lafferty, Public Services, Kenneth Spencer Research Library. 


Votes for Women: The Suffrage Movement at the University of Kansas

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The credit for the success of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States seems always to go to women like Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other well-known women who fill the history books. While they most certainly deserve all of the accolades given to them, much of the groundwork for equal suffrage was done at the local level. These well-organized suffrage leagues and associations were part of a national network of volunteers, all working for one common purpose. The women, and often men, in these types of small, grass-roots groups were no less passionate about suffrage for women as their more famous counterparts. This exhibit highlights just a sampling of the many women at the University who actively participated in the suffrage movement.

This is an online version of a physical exhibit that was on display in Kenneth Spencer Research Library from September through December of 2019. The exhibit was created by Kathy Lafferty, Public Services, Kenneth Spencer Research Library.



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Who takes care of KU Libraries collections and what methods do they use? In this exhibit, we feature the work of the Conservation Services Department. We relish the opportunity to bring our work to the forefront and share techniques and tools that are typically unseen by most library users.

Staff in Conservation Services are responsible for caring for KU Libraries collections in all seven locations. In preserving our books, papers, photographs, audiovisual formats, and three-dimensional artifacts, we strive to make materials available for use by current and future library visitors.

Core functions of Conservation Services include:

  • Monitoring the environment
  • Constructing protective enclosures
  • Preparing new materials for use
  • Repairing and treating damaged items
  • Digitizing audiovisual formats
  • Constructing cradles and supports for exhibitions
  • Preparing for and responding to disasters
  • Training future preservation professionals
  • Engaging in outreach with the campus community and beyond

Please enjoy this online exhibit that highlights our work.

Angela Andres, Special Collections Conservator
Whitney Baker, Head, Conservation Services
Chris Bañuelos, Audiovisual Preservation Specialist
Jacinta Johnson, Paper Conservator, Mellon Initiative
Roberta Woodrick, Collections Conservator


Meet the Spencers: A Marriage of Arts & Sciences

No major city street is named for Kenneth or Helen Spencer in the greater Kansas City area. No statues can be found in parks for these two individuals. But if you visit many institutions in eastern Kansas and western Missouri, you might start noticing their names memorialized on plaques on buildings, in acquisition information for works of art, and in portraits on walls. Who were the people behind these names? Drawing on available materials at Spencer Research Library and other institutions, this exhibit provides a personal view of Kenneth and Helen Spencer.

This is an online version of a physical exhibit that was on display in Kenneth Spencer Research Library from January through June 2019. The exhibit was created by Caitlin Donnelly Klepper, Head of Public Services, and Marcella Huggard, Archives and Manuscripts Processing Coordinator.


The George Jenks Map Collection at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library

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Professor George F. Jenks taught cartography for the University of Kansas from 1949-1986. During his tenure, Jenks established an internationally renowned cartography program which helped push the boundaries of cartographic research and design. Jenks' personal map collection contains hundreds of maps, graphics, and associated artwork that he produced for publication and in support of his research. This small exhibit highlights a few items from the collection to illustrate the scope of Jenks' career.

This is an online version of a physical exhibit that was on display in Kenneth Spencer Research Library from June through July 2018. The exhibit was created by Travis M. White, Special Collections Cartography Intern and 2018 KU graduate (Ph.D., Geography). For more information or questions, contact


The Art of Nature: Natural History Art and Illustration by D.D. Tyler


Diana Dee (McAbee) Tyler was born in 1947 in Salina, Kansas. Her family has deep Kansas roots: her great grandfather was a buffalo hunter who later settled in Kansas. Her grandfather, born in a sod house in Mitchell County, Kansas in 1878, earned a degree from the Kansas State Normal School (later Emporia State University) and ran 16 small newspapers in the Emporia area. He also studied art in New York City, taught school in the Philippines, and traveled to China.

Although Tyler spent her early childhood years in Salina and Emporia, her home from 1952-1970 was in Topeka, where she attended Washburn University for two years following her 1965 graduation from Shawnee Heights High School. After transferring to the University of Kansas in 1966, she received her bachelor of fine arts degree in 1970.

The pioneer spirit of her Kansas forebears is reflected in the manner Tyler pursued her lifelong interests in nature, art, and world cultures. Early jobs at the Seamammal Motivational Institute (1970-1971) and as staff artist of the Maine Times (1971-1972) were followed by a horizon-broadening, low-budget backpacking trip around the world (1972-1974) traveling in Europe, North Africa, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.

After marrying in Bali, Indonesia in 1973, she and Harry R. (Hank) Tyler, Jr. settled in his native state of Maine. While living on Westport Island (1974-1979), D. D. illustrated newspaper center spreads about nature, some written by Hank Tyler, for the Maine Times. She began producing illustrations for books and also created limited-edition prints and commissioned paintings, mainly depicting the wildlife of the region.

Subsequently Tyler diversified her artistic output while living in Augusta from 1979-1983 and Hallowell from 1983-2014 with her husband and two children. In addition to her illustrations for children's books, Tyler Publishing (established 1977) has produced natural-history prints, posters, cards and, from 1989-2014, designs for t-shirts for Liberty Graphics. Tyler Publishing maintained a booth at the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Annual Common Ground Fair for 29 years. Tyler's Liberty Graphics t-shirts were marketed in museums, aquaria, zoos, catalogues, and shops in the United States and also internationally in Japan, Germany, England, France (one outlet in the Louvre), and other countries She created exclusive designs for Monterey Bay Aquarium, San Diego Zoo, the Smithsonian, the Nature Company, the Discovery Channel, and others.

Over the years the continuing desire to travel was satisfied by trips to Japan, France, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and China. During the 1990s Tyler also led natural-history tours in Costa Rica and Ecuador (Galapagos). This year, 2018, after a four year lapse, Tyler will be designing for Liberty Graphics again. The Tylers live in Kansas and Australia.

This is an online version of a physical exhibit that was on display in Kenneth Spencer Research Library from May through August 2018. The exhibit was created by Karen S. Cook, Special Collections Librarian. Email Karen S. Cook.


Women's Athletics at KU

This exhibit is an attempt to highlight aspects of the history of women’s athletics at the University of Kansas, 1892-2015, and how despite the lack of funding and formal recognition early on, women’s athletics has been transformed, and athletes have excelled, regardless of the ebb and flow of achieving equal status if not full equality.

This is an online version of a physical exhibit that was on display in Kenneth Spencer Research Library, January through April of 2018. The exhibit was created by Letha E. Johnson, Associate Archivist, University Archives.


Histories of the English Language


From the Old English of Beowulf to the Middle English of Chaucer to the many dialects that make up our modern tongue, the history of English is a history of change. Featuring materials from KU’s Kenneth Spencer Research Library, this exhibition explores English as embodied in the writings of its practitioners, whether celebrated authors, such as John Milton and Toni Morrison, or scholars, lexicographers, and  grammarians, such as Elizabeth Elstob, Samuel Johnson,  Noah Webster, and Robert Lowth or anonymous and little-known writers of “everyday” English. In manuscripts and books dating from 1000 CE to the present, readers will encounter the varied forces at work growing, standardizing, governing, describing, reforming, and reinventing English.

This is an online version of a physical exhibit that was on display in Kenneth Spencer Research Library, May through August of 2017. The exhibit was created by Elspeth Healey, Special Collections Librarian.


To Make the World Safe for Democracy: Kansas and the Great War


With the declaration of war on Germany, in April, 1917, Kansas and Kansans joined the rest of the nation in mobilizing troops, providing military training and education, and engaging in home front activities in support of food production, food conservation, fund raising, and comfort for soldiers, families, and Allies.

Kansas exceeded its quota of numbers of enlistments in the military, and established training camps, such as Camp Funston, at Fort Riley, to prepare new soldiers for military services. Kansas wheat became a precious commodity, needed worldwide, with corn becoming an important substitution for those at home. High school students and women at home joined in to help with the harvests. Kansans were encouraged to use less sugar, and the institution of “meatless” days and “wheatless" days was common. Women knitted garments for soldiers and orphans overseas, sewed bandages and provided medical supplies, and raised money through the sale and purchase of Liberty Bonds. 

As patriotism fervor swept the nation, and the state, some Kansans grew increasingly critical of those from different backgrounds. Pacifists, many of whom came from Mennonite communities and had German speaking backgrounds, were regarded with suspicion and subjected to public ridicule and vandalism of their property. German Americans’ loyalty to the United States was suspect. There was a consistent program in Kansas to suppress the German language.  

The University of Kansas was impacted by the war as well, with students and faculty leaving to serve in the military. The university community supported the war effort through conservation activities, fund raising for war relief efforts, and community involvement. 

The “war to end all wars” concluded with the signing of an armistice on Nov. 11, 1918, and slowly soldiers began returning home. Kansas lost some 2,500 men in the line of duty. 

Included in this exhibition are items drawn from the Kansas Collection and University Archives that illustrate life on the home front, the soldier’s experience, and the university’s response to a war no one expected would be repeated.    

This is an online version of a physical exhibit that was on display in Kenneth Spencer Research Library, August of 2017 through January of 2018 . The exhibit was created by Sheryl Williams, emeritus curator of the Kansas Collectin, and Rebecca Schulte, University Archivist. For more information, contact