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Friday, October 21, 2011

In a Nutshell

First off, a quick Dracula shout out. A recent announcement reveals that a journal belonging to Bram Stoker has been discovered by his descendants. The journal dates from 1871-1881, well before he was working on Dracula, but it's nonetheless a fascinating find. A published version, with annotations by Dracula scholar Elizabeth Miller (who also edited the facsimile edition of the Dracula notes) will be out next year.

But even as we Rosenbachers have Dracula on the brain, we're also hard at work bringing the great Rosenbach collection to folks in other ways. Our loyal blog readers know all about our in-house exhibitions, and have heard me talk about travelling exhibitions, but have you ever heard about the Rosenbach's panel exhibitions?

A panel exhibition is a series of large panels with images of objects and accompanying text printed on them to create a narrative. The exhibit is composed completely of these flat printed panels, with no original objects being loaned, so they can be used in places which do not have the security, environmental conditions, and staff to handle original objects.

A couple of years ago the Rosenbach was approached by Nextbook, a non-profit supporting Jewish culture, and asked if we were interested in creating a panel exhibit on Maurice Sendak, to be traveled by the American Library Association. Thus was born In a Nutshell: The Worlds of Maurice Sendak. You can read the exhibit script for this panel show and see images of the panels at the ALA site. There are currently 4 copies of the show traveling to libraries from Montreal to Oregon to Texas (the full list of venues is also available on the ALA site).

Each of the exhibition hosts has to create programming to accompany the installation, and our very own Patrick Rogers has been busy travelling around to many of the venues to give lectures. This weekend he's in St. Louis for the opening reception of In a Nutshell at the St. Louis County Library--you can hear a clip of Patrick speaking about the show in this page from the St. Louis Beacon. The new Brunswick Public Library has also posted video from its opening reception online, if you would like to hear Patrick wax eloquent about the Rosenbach and about all things Sendak at more length.

Panel shows offer yet another great way for the Rosenbach to fulfill its mission to "inspire curiosity, inquiry, and creativity by engaging broad audiences in exhibitions, programs, and research based on its remarkable and expanding collections." Shows like In a Nutshell help bring images of Rosenbach objects and the expertise of our staff to folks around the country, many of whom may never make it to Philadelphia. So if you are a far-flung Rosenbach fan, be sure to check out the exhibit if it travels near you! And if you are a fan who has seen the panel show, please swing by to say hello to the Rosenbach when you are in town!

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