Exhibits by Academic Year

Find a past exhibition by academic year at Union College.  The academic calendar year would include exhibits opened anytime between September and August of a given year. 

Use the dropdown menu to skip down to the term year you are searching for:

Academic Year 2024 -


There are no exhibits available for this term year

Academic Year 2023 - 2024


Quietly Shaping History: John Bigelow's Influence on 19th Century Politics

September 1st - November 22nd, 2023 in the Lally Reading Room
This exhibit illustrates the extraordinary life of Union College alumnus John Bigelow (1817-1911, UC 1835) who played a pivotal role in shaping the Reconstruction Era, the Gilded Age, and the Progressive Era through his roles as an American author, diplomat, lawyer, philanthropist, and distinguished man of letters.

Out in the Archives

October 11th - November 22nd, 2023 in the Lally Reading Room
This exhibition seeks to highlight the stories and experiences of LGBTQ+ people at Union College, using the archival material available at Special Collections and Archives. Featuring materials identified in the 2023 Ruth Anne Evans Research Fellowship, the goal is to uncover and bring to light queer history at Union that has either been buried or has yet to be recognized as queer.

Dogs All Over The Place

January 3rd - March 25th, 2024 in the Lally Reading Room
Dogs have shared our campus since the earliest days of Union College. This exhibit includes a brief history of Union College canines.

The Flight and Return of the Audubons

January 3rd - March 25th, 2024 in the Lally Reading Room
This exhibit features four prints selected by members of Schaffer Library's instruction team. Union's double elephant folio prints continue to serve this purpose one hundred eighty years later.

A Mutual Need for Friendship in New Surroundings

March 1st - April 1st, 2024 in the Beuth Atrium
“A Mutual Need for Friendship in New Surroundings”: The Union College Student Wives Association and Childcare Center, 1965-1986. This exhibition features materials from two collections in Union’s archives: the Student Wives Association of Union College and the Childcare Center Reunion Collection.

Academic Year 2022 - 2023


John James Audubon and Extinction

September 5th - December 31st, 2022 in the Lally Reading Room
This exhibit features selections from John James Audubon’s Birds of America, a collection of 435 life-size watercolors reproduced from hand-engraved plates and printed between 1827 and 1838. Eliphalet Nott acquired Union College’s copy of Birds of America directly from Audubon himself in 1844. Originally bound in four volumes, our copy underwent significant conservation treatment in 2006 and the engravings are now housed individually, making for easier and safer display.

The Owls of Audubon

January 9th - March 24th, 2023 in the Lally Reading Room
Winter Term 2023 exhibit featuring four owl prints from Union’s collection of double elephant folio Birds of America by John James Audubon

Sex, Religion, and Politics: The Heterogeneous Library of John Bigelow

January 9th - March 24th, 2023 in the Lally Reading Room
Created from rare books found in the department of Special Collections and Archives, "Sex, Religion, and Politics: The Heterogeneous Library of John Bigelow" is a single case exhibit that presents a diverse assortment of books from the personal library of John Bigelow (1817-1911, UC 1835). The books on display range from 1700 to 1903, showcase eight different languages, and tell a story about how his personal and professional reading choices were partly responsible for shaping his open-mindedness and forward-thinking decision making.

Tales from the Picture File

January 25th - March 24th, 2023 in the Lally Reading Room
Union College and Schenectady have played host to countless stories over the campus’s centuries-long history. Since the invention of photography, members of the campus community have documented this history and their stories visually. Many such photographs are housed in the Picture File (SCA-1206), a collection of thousands of images preserved in the Special Collections and Archives department.

Adirondack Portraits: The Photography of Osmond D. Putnam

March 23rd - June 9th, 2023 in Beuth Atrium.
The Osmond D. Putnam photographs (ARL-081) provide a glimpse into the close of the 19th century as the Adirondacks moved from an isolated wilderness to a permanently settled part of the state. The communities in which Putnam took photographs were not the great camps and high peaks of the seasonal tourist. Rather, they were the remote valleys where settlers labored to eke out a hard-scrabble existence from the land around them.

John Bigelow: An American Abroad Between 1850-1886

Digital Exhibit: May 4th, 2023
This digital exhibit aims to delight audiences by showcasing various trips Bigelow and his family made between 1850 and 1886. Through his letters, family diaries, and other collection materials from the John Bigelow papers (SCA-0022), visitors can accompany Bigelow around Europe and the Caribbean to learn more about global travel during the nineteenth century.

Out in the Archives

Digital Exhibit: August 17, 2023
This exhibition seeks to highlight the stories and experiences of LGBTQ+ people at Union College, using the archival material available at Special Collections and Archives. Featuring materials identified in the 2023 Ruth Anne Evans Research Fellowship, the goal is to uncover and bring to light queer history at Union that has either been buried or has yet to be recognized as queer.

Academic Year 2021 - 2022


100 Years of Ulysses

May 26th - June 10th, 2022 in Beuth Atrium.
The James Joyce Collection at Union College is housed in Schaffer Library's Special Collections and Archives. A small, yet rich collection of rare editions and ephemera, the James Joyce Collection offers researchers unique items related to international Bloomsday events, first and rare editions, and Joycean ephemera.

Academic Year 2020 - 2021


Night of the Living Radio

August 12th - March 1st, 2022 in the Lally Reading Room
Night of the Living Radio: WRUC Past and Present celebrates the 101st anniversary of WRUC. The exhibit showcases materials from the WRUC collection and includes vinyl records, radio equipment, ephemera, and recordings of broadcasts that visitors may listen to on their phones.

Academic Year 2019 - 2020


Hell No, We Won't Go!

March 11th - May 11th, 2020 in the Lally Reading Room
This exhibit, using Union College as a case study, examines the importance of protests on college campuses during this time period. By shedding light on the various protests at Union during these years, current student visitors will be able to compare and contrast their experiences. What made this era unique? What are campus protests like today?

50th Anniversary of Coeducation

Digital Exhibit: March 18th, 2020
The goal of the exhibit is to recognize the sisterhood of students whose accomplishments have helped shaped Union’s success. With courage and commitment, these women and others, alongside students of color, helped build the foundation for a more diverse student body, faculty and leadership at Union College. Today, women represent 47 percent of enrolled students.

Brick by Brick: 175 Years of Engineering at Union College

Digital Exhibit: July 13th, 2020
This website provides a general overview of the history of engineering at Union College and will hopefully serve as inspiration for those interested in learning more about this storied history.

Pillars and Walls

Digital Exhibit: August 6th, 2020
This exhibit was inspired by the 50 year anniversary of coeducation and celebrates the impact women have made throughout the course of Union's history. Women have long been involved in the history of this institution, influencing its structure through contributions to areas such as labor, finances, and educational developments, among others.

Academic Year 2018 - 2019


Grassroots Activism and the American Wilderness

Digital Exhibit: December 5th, 2018
This website showcases themes and material available for further exploration in the John S. Apperson Jr. Papers and the Paul Schaefer Collection held at the Adirondack Research Library of the Kelly Adirondack Center at Union College in Schenectady, New York.

Union Notables

Digital Exhibit: December 10th, 2018
This website showcases notable people whom have either graduated from Union College or have had a significant accomplishment in association with the college.

The Faces of Change: Women at Union College

February 22nd - May 2nd, 2019 in the Lally Reading Room
The Face of Change: Women at Union College” focuses on pioneers who played vital roles in the integration of women at the College. Urania Sheldon Nott, the third wife of Union president Eliphalet Nott, helped expand the view of women in education when she founded a private school “for young ladies” that started in Troy and moved to Schenectady.

Kay Flickinger Dockstader

March 22nd - June 7th, 2019 in the Lally Reading Room
As part of Union College’s commitment to the celebration of Women’s History Month, we proudly tell the story of Katherine ‘Kay’ Flickinger Dockstader, an outdoors enthusiast, hiker, skier, amateur photographer, and former GE employee. Born in Schenectady in 1910, she was a world-wide traveler who had a lifelong fascination with the Adirondacks. As a member of the Schenectady Chapter of Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) as well as the YMCA/YWCA’s Otyokwa Club, she regularly took weekend hiking trips, often in the High Peaks.

Charles Proteus Steinmetz

May 5th - May 16th, 2019 in the Lally Reading room.
Charles Proteus Steinmetz was a Union College Professor of Electrical Engineering, 1902-1913 and Professor of Electro-Physics (non-teaching) from 1913-1923

ReUnion Class of 1969 Exhibit

May 24th - June 14, 2019 in the Lally Reading Room
Exhibit materials feature a summary of campus issues, notably the debate and decision to admit women students, beginning in the fall of 1970. Campus activities included entertainment venues that featured folksingers Judy Collins, Peter, Paul & Mary and Muhammad Ali’s visit to Union.

Digging Deeper

August 12th - November 15th, 2019 in the Lally Reading Room
In the winter of 2017, a lock of George Washington's hair was discovered in the stacks of the Special Collections Department at Union College, triggering an international media storm. The lock of hair was found in a small envelope that was tucked inside a rare book entitled Gaine's Universal Register (1793).

Academic Year 2017 - 2018


Reformation, Restoration, and Romeyn

October 5th - December 15th, 2017 in the Lally Reading Room
Reformation, Restoration and Romeyn presents objects that reflect the connections between Union College and the Reformation movement. The exhibit features four recently restored Bibles, including the family Bible of Dirck Romeyn, a Protestant minister and principal founder of Union College. Written in the Dutch vernacular, the Romeyn Bible is the direct result of the Reformation’s influence on making the gospels accessible to ordinary citizens.

Beyond the Hasheesh Eater

October 20th - Spring, 2017 in the Beuth Atrium
This exhibit features Fitz Hugh Ludlow, A Nineteenth Century Writer and Adventurer best known to the Union College community for penning our Alma Mater, the Ode to Old Union.

Blake at Union

Digital Exhibit: January 5th, 2018
This exhibit is a companion to a research website showcasing the works of author, artist, and printmaker William Blake to be released the Schaffer Library in late April, 2018. The development of the website would not have been possible with Union College's extensive collection of print facsimiles of Blake's illuminated books and commercial works. The presentation online of an enhanced catalog of this collection and the digitization of selected images, undertaken to inspire and promote student creativity, forever intertwines the digital with the print.

LOST ART: Ancient Iranian Bronzes in the Union College Permanent Collection

January 22nd - March 25, 2018 in the Lally Reading Room
Union College’s Permanent Collection of art and artifacts includes an uncommon and exceptional collection of bronze weaponry and horse fittings from ancient Iran, generously donated by Professor Emeritus Carl George.

Blake at Union: From Print to Digital To Print

April 9th - September 21st, 2018 in the Lally Reading room.
This exhibit is a companion to a research website showcasing the works of author, artist, and printmaker William Blake to be released the Schaffer Library in late April, 2018. The development of the website would not have been possible with Union College's extensive collection of print facsimiles of Blake's illuminated books and commercial works.

Academic Year 2016 - 2017


Black Space: Reading (and writing) Ourselves into the Future

February 2nd - September 30th, 2017 in the Lally Reading room.
The materials assembled in this exhibit introduce visitors to Afrofuturist musicians, authors and speculative artists, and retroactively designated Afrofuturists texts to challenge assumptions about the black experience. That is so say, the often racially coded Digital Divide is much narrower than once thought; there is a thriving Black cyberculture populated with Afropunks, Steamfunkers, Bleeks (black geeks) & Blerds (black nerds), and a very active black science fiction community who not only produce a vast body of speculative fiction but who also create comics, graphic fiction/nonfiction, film and speculative art.

Academic Year 2015 - 2016


The World of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

February 1st - April 21st, 2016 in the Lally Reading Room
This exhibit explores the scientific and literary environment in which Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was first conceived and written. Begun 200 years ago in 1816, and revised several times during Shelley’s lifetime, Frankenstein reflects contemporary developments in the natural sciences and in literary views of the natural world.

Pioneers in the 20th Century Adirondack Park Conservation Movement

May 12th - December 15th, 2016 in the Lally Reading Room
Grassroots Activism and the American Wilderness: Pioneers in the 20th Century Adirondack Park Conservation Movement” highlights the remarkable careers of John Apperson and Paul Schaefer, two citizen activists who were dedicated to preserving the Adirondacks and New York’s Forest Preserve. This exhibit focuses on their early forays into political activism.

Academic Year 2014 - 2015


We Want Books

September 1st, 2014 - January 20th, 2015 in the Lally Reading Room
Books were critical in maintaining morale among American troops during World War Two, and millions of books were distributed to servicemen all over the world. Giving books to the troops helped keep them occupied – but also served as a symbolic contrast to the book burning of the Nazis.

John James Audubon's Magnificent Obsession

September 6th - November 20th, 2014 in the Lally Reading Room
This exhibition features high quality facsimile prints from Abbeville Press and Oppenheimer Inc. of John James Audubon’s Birds of America, as well as prints from the original Havell edition owned by Union College.

Artists' Books: Where to put the Apostrophe?

January 5 - May 31, 2015 in the Lally Reading Room.
This display of artists' books is part of a larger, three-part exhibition, Mot Juste, a celebration of text and language in contemporary visual arts on view during winter term 2015.

Academic Year 2013 - 2014


Humanities & Engineering @ Union

September 1st - December 31st, 2013 in the Lally Reading Room
This exhibit showcases traditions and innovations that combine Humanities and Engineering perspectives in Union’s curriculum, student and faculty research, campus structures, and co-curricular and student activities.

Literature in English 1713-1913

October 8th - December 17th, 2013 in the Lally Reading Room
This exhibit features rare editions from the Schaffer Library collections of two centuries of literary works from England, Scotland, Ireland and the United States, including Union’s first editions of “Pride and Prejudice” and Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass.”

Treasures and New Acquisitions: Favorites

January 21st - March 21st, 2014 in the Lally Reading Room
This exhibit features works hand selected by Schaffer's previous head of the Special Collections department, Ellen Fladger, who retired in January of 2014.

Mrs Perkins' Garden Tea Party

March 31st - April 7th, 2014 in the Lally Reading Room
A glimpse of Mrs. Perkins’ Garden as it looked in full flower. Learn too about the many facets of the woman known on campus as “The Duchess”.

National Wilderness Preservation Act: 50th Anniversary

May 2nd - May 23rd, 2014 in the Lally Reading Room
"It is a bold thing for a human being who lives on the earth for just a few score years at the most to presume upon the Eternal and covet perpetuity for any of his undertakings." - Howard Zahniser

Browsing the Past @ Schaffer Library

May 30th - June 1st, 2014 in the Lally Reading room.
A mini three-day exhibit featuring memorabilia such as t-shirts, collectible figurines, frisbees, photos, etc, from the class of 1964.

Academic Year 2012 - 2013


Gazes on the Colonial Maghreb: North African Postcards of Jewish Women

October 19th - February 11th, 2013 in the Lally Reading Room
Schaffer Library Gallery exhibits North-African Postcards depicting Jewish women, children, & families dating from the early twentieth century.

Treasures and New Acquisitions

January 21st - May, 2013 in the Lally Reading Room
This exhibition showcases the wide variety of material held in Schaffer Library's Special Collections. It includes samples of the treasures collected throughout the many decades of Union's history - among them, plates from John James Audubon's Birds of North America , purchased by the College from the artist himself in 1814 - as well as rare works and historic material acquired as recently as December 2012.

The World of Mrs. Perkins

Digital Exhibit: April 15, 2013
This website is an historic guide to Union College as it stood at the turn of the twentieth century. It is based upon information and stories gleaned from the recent donation to the College of a treasure trove of over 700 letters written between 1895 and 1904 by Anne Dunbar Potts Perkins, beloved campus resident, creator of Mrs. Perkins’ Garden, and wife of Maurice Perkins (Union College Professor of Chemistry, 1865-1901).

Remembered First Citizen

August 1st - September 31st, 2013 in the Lally Reading Room
This exhibit exhibit honors John Bigelow (Union College Class of 1835). Part of a larger project at Union College celebrating the accomplishments one of its most distinguished alumni, the exhibit took its name in tribute – but also in answer – to Margaret Clapp’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Bigelow, Forgotten First Citizen (1947).

Academic Year 2011 - 2012


There are no exhibits available for this term year

Academic Year 2010 - 2011


Look! Of MAUS and Men(sch)

March 14th - April 15th, 2011 in the Lally Reading Room
Series II of the Graphic Novel series, LOOK!

Mitzvah, Midrash and Matriarchs

May 30, 2011 in the Lally Reading Room
Jewish Women in Image and Word.

Academic Year 2009 - 2010


Dickens in America

February 9th - March 31st, 2010 in the Lally Reading room.
The exhibit featured first editions of Dickens’ fiction and non-fiction writings on the United States as well as archival materials from the papers of John Bigelow (Union College Class of 1835), who became personally acquainted with Dickens during his “public readings” tour of the U.S. in 1867/68.

Academic Year 2008 - 2009


Darwin @ Union

April 1st - May 31st, 2009 in the Lally Reading room.
This exhibit celebrated the conjunction of three events: the bicentennial of Charles Darwin’s birth in 1809, the 150th anniversary of the first publication of his On the Origin of Species in 1859, and the gift to Union College of a first and sixth edition of On the Origin of Species as well as the first volume of Darwin’s The Descent of Man (1871), all donated to the College by Aaron J. Feingold, Union College Class of 1972.

Look! Seeing the Stories in Schaffer Library's Graphic Novel Collection

July 2nd - July 17th, 2009 in the Lally Reading Room
This new exhibit series is an investigation into the distinctive ways in which graphic novelists/artists construct a narrative. The first installment focuses on the use of color as a storytelling device and showcases sample images from graphic novels in Schaffer Library’s collections.

Academic Year 2007 - 2008


Locally Grown

On display from 2008 - 2010
According to The Encyclopedia of Union College History, Union College’s first vegetable garden may have been that of Professor Thomas McAuley (1805-1822). While at Union, McAuley lived at the north end of North College in what is now Bronner House, and the later, undated photograph seen here shows a view of where the garden may have originally stood. Isaac Jackson (Professor, 1831-1877) moved the plot in the early 1830s to make space for his flower and shrub garden, though his personal diaries provide evidence of continued vegetable plantings.

LGBT: A Library Perspective

April 7th - May 18, 2008 in the Lally Reading Room
Display presented in conjunction with LGBT: A Union Perspective, Wikoff Student Gallery, Nott Memorial. This exhibit features print, audio, video, and online resources related to lesbian, gay, transgender, and bisexual issues, on the Union College campus and beyond.

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