Making the Book, Past and Present

Apr 25, 2024

09:00 AM - 06:00 PM

University of Iowa Main Library, Main Library Gallery

125 West Washington Street, Iowa City, IA 52242

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Detail closeup of a volvelle, or moving piece in a medieval book. Text is printed in Latin and the moving piece shows the world and its horizon.

On display in the Main Library Gallery:

Making the Book, Past and Present explores the intersections of history, art, and practicality. What can we learn by placing books, materials, and makers from the Middle Ages through today in conversation with one another? Many techniques and materials common centuries ago still inspire contemporary book artists and bookbinders.  

Curated by Eric Ensley and Emily Martin, this exhibition features a global selection of rare historic books and modern book art. From medieval manuscripts and early modern works to recent book sculptures, pop-ups, and books that move, these Special Collections & Archives materials shown together make a visual feast representing the strong connection between books and makers past and present. 


Monday: 9 a.m.–6 p.m.
Tuesday: 9 a.m.–8 p.m.
Wednesday: 9 a.m.–6 p.m.
Thursday: 9 a.m.–6 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m.–6 p.m.
Saturday: 1 p.m.–5 p.m.
Sunday: 1 p.m.–5 p.m.

Admission is always FREE. The exhibition will be open Jan. 17–June 28, 2024.
Please note that the Main Library Gallery will be closed on the following University of Iowa holidays during the spring: Memorial Day (May 27)

Because the Main Library Gallery is an educational space on campus, there may occasionally be classes visiting during open hours. Thank you for your understanding.

The easiest way to access the Main Library Gallery is via the north entrance of the Main Library. Find parking options here: lib.uiowa.edu/locations/main/parking 

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact in advance at