After a $12 million gift from Dr. Leonard Polonsky CBE and the Polonsky Foundation, the New York Public Library is to open its first permanent exhibition in 2020. The exhibition will feature rotating items from the NYPL’s extensive research collections and it’s fantastic news for those who would like to see these collections.
The Polonsky Exhibition of the New York Public Library’s Treasures is expected to open in late 2020 at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. The free exhibition will be housed in Gottesman Hall, a 6,400 square-foot exhibition space on the Library’s main floor.
The NYPL already house extensive research collections but they are rarely on display, now visitors will be able to see such treasures as the Declaration of Independence, written in Thomas Jefferson’s hand; the original Bil of Rights; Charles Dickens’ handwritten notes; George Washington’s handwritten farewell address; Manuscript material from authors such as Maya Angelou, T. S Eliot, Jack Kerouac, Malcolm X, Herman Melville, Vladimir Nabokov, Mary Shelley, Virginia Woolf, Truman Capote and many others; The Gutenberg Bible; the original Winnie the Pooh and friends; a letter from Christopher Columbus to King Ferdinand; Photographs from many legendary photographers; original sheet music from Beethoven, Mozart and others; the writings of Lou Reed; the original pen and ink drawings from Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and much, much more.
While we’ve given a small taste above, the New York Public Library is home to more than 46 million items in its research collection including the manuscripts listed above and more, rare books, prints, photographs, film, ephemera and more. And while the library has previous designed exhibitions around these artefacts, this will be the first permanent exhibition to showcase the extent of the Library’s holdings.
Specifics about the exhibition and the list of items that will be included in the 2020 opening are yet to be determined but we’ll bring you more news as we have it.