See George Washington’s handwritten farewell address and more at NYPL’s new permanent exhibit

Posted On Thu, September 13, 2018 By

Posted On Thu, September 13, 2018 By In Events, History

Guttenberg Bible; Via Jonathan Blanc/NYPL

The New York Public Library announced on Thursday it will open a permanent exhibition of rotating treasures at their Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street location. The exhibit will be the first to showcase the depth of the library’s holdings, which includes over 46 million items in its research collection. While the specifics are still being determined, some notable artifacts from the collection being considered for the treasures exhibit include the original Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson, a handwritten farewell address from George Washington, the original Winnie-The-Pooh, writings from Lou Reed, and manuscript material from Maya Angelou.


Gottesman Hall; Via Jonathan Blanc/NYPL

The exhibit will be held at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building inside the Gottesman Hall. The hall is located on the library’s main floor and measures 6,400 square feet. Planned to open in the fall of 2020, the exhibit, which will rotate its treasures, will be free to the public.


The original Winnie-The-Pooh dolls that belonged to Christopher Robin and inspired stories by AA Milne; Via NYPL

“All members of the public deserve to see and be inspired by the New York Public Library’s countless treasures, carefully preserved as part of the institution’s vast research collections for over a century,” NYPL President Anthony W. Marx said in a statement.

Marx added: “This new exhibition will showcase our collections, highlight the importance of research libraries to audiences new and familiar, and hopefully excite a new generation of researchers.”


The Declaration of Independence in Thomas Jefferson’s hand; Via Jonathan Blanc/NYPL


Maya Angelou manuscripts; Via Jonathan Blanc/NYPL

Over 46 million items, rare books, photos, manuscripts and more, are normally accessible to the public at four research libraries in the city. These include the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the Library for the Performing Arts, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Science, Industry and Business Library.

The exhibit is supported by a $12 million donation from Leonard Polonsky and the Polonsky Foundation, known for its gifts to higher education and to the arts and humanities.

Other items being considered for the exhibit include Charles Dicken’s “prompt copies,” the Gutenberg Bible, a letter from Christopher Columbus to King Ferdinand, original sheet music from Beethoven and Mozart, ink drawings of The Wizard of Oz, and more.

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Photos via Jonathan Blanc/ NYPL unless otherwise noted

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