KU Libraries host reception for grand reopening of North Gallery

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

KU Libraries are hosting a grand reopening event of the newly renovated North Gallery in Kenneth Spencer Research Library. The event will be held on Thursday, September 7, at 3 p.m. The reopening reception will highlight the new, permanent exhibit installed during the ambitious update.

When the building opened in 1968, the North Gallery housed outstanding items from Spencer’s Special Collections behind museum-like glass. It was often known as the “red room” in the library, offering sweeping views of the campanile and Marvin Grove. Thanks in part to a gift from former KU Librarian Ann Hyde and the generosity of friends of KU Libraries, ambitious renovations are complete. Necessary maintenance to the space will ensure preservation of the collections, and a new, modern exhibit has been installed. 

“The North Gallery renovations allow users to experience our collections with interactive, self-guided multi-media tools, while enjoying the refreshed space and a sample of our holdings on display,” said Beth Whittaker, assistant dean of special collections and director of Spencer. “This new permanent exhibit is very unusual for research libraries. We look forward to visitors encountering a broad range of materials, from our oldest items to the kind of resources that we collect today.”

The permanent exhibit features a snapshot of Spencer’s impressive distinctive collections. Now, patrons are able to easily experience selected materials with multi-media insight that provides context on the exceptional collections behind the glass. 

“Through the exhibit, patrons gain a deeper understanding of our collections,” explained Whittaker. “When we began selecting materials to be featured, we hoped to give a sense of the breadth of our collections, including Special Collections, the Kansas Collection, the Wilcox Collection of American Political Movements, and University Archives.  While this is only a fraction of our collections, we are hoping visitors come away from the North Gallery with a richer appreciation for the materials we collect and share.”

The exhibit opening and renovation occurs on the cusp of Spencer’s 50th anniversary. In celebration, the event will offer rotating tours from 3-4:30 p.m. and brief remarks and champagne toast at 4 p.m. To attend, please RSVP by September 1 to Jennifer Muse at 785-864-8961 or libevents@ku.edu.

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