Upcoming Exhibits

Spring Quarter 2020

On Reading Spring
Dates to be determined

Why do we all respond so similarly to the “characteristic and essential” traits of spring? Can we trace the genesis of too familiar rhetorical devices, poetic flourishes, and seasonal tropes to authentic, lived experiences of the seasons? How is the creative impulse vulnerable to the physical environment in which it germinates?

On Reading Spring explores these questions by pairing a selection of rare and unusual published works with archival letters, diaries, photographs, musical manuscripts and early drafts of poems composed between March and June. Through six thematic sections - Refreshment, Vulnerability, Epiphany, Restoration, Tenderness, and Joy - On Reading Spring considers the ways in which these diverse works reveal a sympathetic vernal experience across disciplines, cultures, and time periods.

The exhibit includes works by Ludwig van Beethoven, Margaret Danner, Emily Dickenson, Vivian Maier, Igor Stravinsky, Virgil, Virginia Woolf, and Carlos de Francisco Zea.

Spring-Summer Quarters 2020

Nikkei South Side: Japanese and Japanese Americans in Hyde Park and its Vicinity
Dates to be determined

Chicago’s South Side has long-standing but little-known relationships with Japan. In 1893 the Japanese Garden in Jackson Park was established for the World’s Columbian Exposition. In the same year the University of Chicago conferred its first-ever doctoral degree—upon a Japanese Divinity School student named Eiji Asada. Taking this momentous year as a point of departure, this exhibit highlights more than a century of connections between Japanese and Japanese Americans and the University and Hyde Park area.

During Japan’s Meiji and Taisho periods (1868–1925) the University of Chicago was a frequent destination for so-called “government students” from Japan. These elite scholars were sent by the Japanese government to acquire advanced knowledge in various fields, then to bring their expertise back home. Showcased are the campus activities (self-run periodicals, participation in cultural events) of some such students; letters of two notable alumni: Jiuji Kasai (class of 1913, and a long-term friend of the University) and Heita Okabe (a student of Amos Alonzo Stagg); and the baseball exchange program between the University of Chicago and Waseda University in Tokyo (established by Stagg and his student Fred Merrifield, who had taken a coaching position at Waseda).

Also recognized are several notable Japanese and Japanese American educators. Toyokichi Iyenaga (Far Eastern studies) was a popular lecturer in the University Extension, whose teaching received press coverage on multiple occasions. From the University Archives come letters by Professors Joseph Kitagawa (Divinity School), Akira Iriye (history), and Tetsuo Najita (history)—all eminent scholars in religious and intellectual history—that evidence their work in lobbying for visits by members of Japan’s imperial family, and in procuring from the Japanese government financial support for Japanese studies at the University. In the case of another reputable scholar, Yoichiro Nambu (theoretical physics), a glimpse into his 1950s research notebooks is afforded.

World War II substantially affected the University’s relationship with Japan. Due to U.S. wartime policies, Japanese students and scholars needed to leave the institution after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Because of its contracts with the U.S. Military (which concerned not only research for the Manhattan Project, but the conversion of some campus facilities into training sites for soldiers), the University was barred from admitting Japanese American students for over a year—even though the Oakland/Kenwood/Hyde Park area at the time had Chicago’s largest population of Japanese Americans that had been relocated from internment camps. The University’s wartime dilemma is traced through official correspondence with—and internal memos about—Japanese American applicants. Meanwhile, thanks to contributions from former residents, a large portion of the exhibit is dedicated to celebrating the once-bustling Japanese American community on the South Side.

In recognition of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, this exhibit reintroduces such forgotten pasts.

Autumn Quarter 2020

The Reg at 50: A Hub for Innovation
September 14, 2020 - December 11, 2020

The autumn quarter of 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the University of Chicago's Joseph Regenstein Library in October 1970.

The Joseph Regenstein Library was designed to be a massive yet flexible hub of intellectual discovery and rigorous learning that would meet the University of Chicago's evolving needs over time. In its early years, Regenstein united many scattered departmental collections into a central location -- speeding interdisciplinary research and enabling faculty and graduate students to generate groundbreaking scholarship.

Today, Regenstein continues to be a central site for distinctive, world-class humanities, social sciences, business, and special collections, while acting as a hub connecting people and ideas; a catalyst for discovery, learning, collaboration and scholarly breakthroughs; and a great intellectual convener. In 2020, Regenstein is an evolving center of student life and learning; a leader in a network of research libraries; a growing center for digital scholarship; and a launch pad for community engagement.