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The Polonsky Exhibition of The New York Public Library’s Treasures
The Polonsky Exhibition of The New York Public Library's Treasures opened on September 24, 2021. This permanent exhibition at the iconic 42nd Street library showcases over 250 rare items from the Library’s renowned research collections, giving visitors a unique opportunity to see and explore objects and stories that have helped shape our world.
The objects—spanning 4,000 years of history—represent moments, movements, and stories that have helped shape the world. They continue to inspire curiosity, conversation, and a stronger understanding of the past to inform a better future. The exhibition draws exclusively from the Library’s research collections, which contain over 45 million objects including rare books, manuscripts, photographs, prints, maps, ephemera, audio and moving image, and more, collected over the institution’s 126 years and accessible at the Library’s research centers: the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the Library for the Performing Arts, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Timed tickets are available at nypl.org/treasures.
In its inaugural iteration, The Polonsky Exhibition of The New York Public Library’s Treasures is organized into nine sections: Beginnings, Performance, Explorations, Fortitude, The Written Word, The Visual World, Childhood, Belief, and New York City. Each section highlights the stories behind the individual objects selected, as well as their contributions to a broader historical narrative—one that is still being written, just as the Library continues to acquire new material and expand its special collections.
For details on each section, see additional information here. While some iconic objects will remain on long-term display, the exhibition will change and evolve over time, with section themes and individual items within those sections rotating to give the public an opportunity to more deeply explore the vast collection of treasures within our research collections.