William L. Clements Library

Upcoming Exhibits and Events


Exhibit hours are 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Fridays.

Upcoming Exhibits to be announced. Learn more about our Current Exhibits.


All lectures are free and open to the public, but registration is requested. See links below to register.

Discover Series - 4:00pm, Thursday, January 17

Student Internships at the Clements Library: Working with Collections that Highlight Underrepresented Perspectives

The Clements Library acquires, preserves, and provides access to primary source materials pertinent to early American History. Its curators identify projects for internships based on historical value, the physical condition of materials, and other priorities including the Clements’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategic Plan. Please join us as students and mentors discuss their recent conservation, collection description, cataloging, and digitization projects. Register online.

LS&A undergraduate student Ella Horwedel performed conservation work and created a finding aid for the Starry Family Correspondence. James H. Starry, his wife Nancy Starry, siblings, cousins, and others wrote often-candid letters about their lives in Virginia and Ohio between 1840 and 1850. They provided valuable reflections on gender relations, courtship, alcohol use and temperance, African Americans, slavery, and other subjects. Ella washed, repaired, and lined the Starrys' heavily damaged letters to make them safe for handling by researchers; and she wrote descriptive text to help scholars discover the collection for study.

Vocal music student Alexandra Brassard worked with the Graphics Division to digitize and improve catalog records for the Clements Library's illustrated sheet music collection. Although American popular music of the past includes pervasive racial caricatures and stereotypes, it is also rich with themes related to immigration, gender, spiritualism, and includes notable African American composers.

Lecture at Hatcher Library Gallery - 4:00pm, Tuesday, February 5

"Over There with the American Expeditionary Forces in France During the Great War," Louis Miller

A current exhibit at the Clements Library aims to present the experiences of ordinary Americans who served in France as part of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) during the First World War. Studying hundreds of letters written by soldiers, postcards, photographs, and other diverse materials, curator Louis Miller discovered some shared themes from these firsthand accounts to explore in the exhibition. Miller’s lecture will discuss some of the exceptional and heartbreaking stories found in the Clements’ archives and present an overview of the exhibit. An after-hours viewing of the exhibit at the Clements Library will follow the lecture. A pamphlet of excerpts from the writings of Americans who served complements the exhibit. The exhibit is open on Fridays through April 26, 2019. Register online.

Discover Series - 11:00am, Thursday, February 14

Love Letters & Romance in the Archives

The rich collections at the Clements Library teem with love letters, valentines, and romance of all kinds. Come swoon with us as we explore the many ways Americans expressed their love in the past. Register online.

Discover Series - 4:00pm, Thursday, February 28

Beyond the Lens: Hidden Features of 19th century Ambrotypes

This presentation centers on the conservation of the Clements Library's cased ambrotypes (photographs on glass) taken by David H. Spencer, a photographer in Hudson, Michigan from 1857-1879. This project afforded a unique chance to observe the layers inside ambrotype cases. This presentation will examine the various techniques we found, while also providing background information on Spencer and his photographic career. Clements Library Conservator Julie Fremuth and Graphics Cataloger Louie Miller will lead this discussion. Register online.

Discover Series - 11:00am, Thursday, March 21

Merging the Old and the New: Bird's-Eye Views of America

Between 1850 and 1900 panoramic depictions of towns and cities were very popular in America. UM School of Information student Corey Schmidt will describe his project to catalog and digitize these bird’s-eye views and also to create an online interactive map. Director of the Clements Library Kevin Graffagnino will discuss the significance of these unique nineteenth-century depictions of communities throughout the United States. Participants will also have an opportunity to view several original bird’s-eye views from the Clements Library collection. Register online.

Discover Series - 4:00pm, Thursday, March 28

A Close Look at Vues D'Optique

During the late 18th century, European engravers created 'vues d'optique,' a special kind of print designed to be viewed with an optical device called a zograscope that would make them appear three-dimensional. Join Curator of Graphics Clayton Lewis and Assistant Curator Jakob Dopp as they discuss these visual entertainment showpieces. Register online.