Exhibits – Spring 2009

Perkins Gallery


Sarah P. DukeSarah P. Duke Gardens—Hanes’ Dream, Sarah’s Gift, our Treasure

To mark the Duke Gardens’ 75th anniversary, this exhibit explores topics such as the geological importance of the stone used to create the terraces, the work to save endangered plants, the significance of the Metasequoia trees, and the more recent work in association with Gardens for Peace. View a short video of the opening of the terraces in 1939 at the exhibit website.


Chinese Paintings from the Kingdom of Min

An exhibit that reveals the culture of China through literature and art. Books from the collections of the Duke University Libraries will be on display with paintings and books from the collection of Professor Emeritus Paul Wang. In an era of complex international relationships, this exhibit invites viewers to see China as a humanistic society as well as an influential economic and political power.


The Sea is History—Moun Kantè,Yoleros, Balseros, Boteros

Photo of Haitian girl

Photo from Historian’s Office, United States Coast Guard, Washington, D.C.

Four coordinated events: two exhibits, one at Perkins Library and the other at the Franklin Humanities Institute, and two related panel discussions to commemorate the hundreds of thousands of Dominicans, Haitians and Cubans who have left their homelands in fragile boats and rafts over the last three decades in search of better lives. The exhibit in the Perkins Gallery will feature books, photos and ephemera drawn from the collections of the Duke University Libraries, together with works of art made by the boat people themselves. The art is on loan from the collection of Holly Ackerman, Librarian for Latin America and Iberia, who is the curator of the exhibits. The Perkins exhibit and a program in September are co-sponsored by the Libraries, Franklin Humanities Institute, Vice-Provost for International Affairs, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Global Studies Institute, Duke in the Andes, Atlantic Studies and the Departments of African and African American Studies, Romance Studies and Women’s Studies. Professors Michaeline Crichlow and Deborah Jenson are partners in planning the series of events.

At the Nasher Museum at Duke


Beyond Beauty: Photographs from the Duke University Special Collections Library

An exhibit featuring more than 80 original photographs, films, personal artifacts and rare published portfolios, many of which will be on view for the first time. The exhibition includes photographic material from the 1860s to the present selected from Duke’s Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library by the curatorial team of Patricia Leighten, professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies; Sarah Schroth, Nancy Hanks Senior Curator at the Nasher Museum; Karen Glynn, visual materials archivist at the Special Collections Library; and Margaret Morrison, a Duke student intern at the Nasher Museum.

Special Collections Gallery


William Gedney & Paul Kwilecki: Seminal Collections from the Archive of Documentary Arts

Photo by William Gedney

Photo by William Gedney

An exhibit featuring selections from two of the Archive’s major collections. The 50,000-item Gedney collection documents his work from the 1950s to 1989. Subjects include photographs of cross country road trips; rural New York; Manhattan; Brooklyn; rural Kentucky; hippies in San Francisco; composers; gay rallies and demonstrations; St. Joseph’s School for the Deaf; India; England; Ireland; France; and, a large number of nocturnal pictures. Paul Kwilecki’s black-and-white prints document life in Decatur County,Georgia, where he began as a self-taught photographer in 1960; he continues to work in the same locale today.


Bathers: Photographs by Jennette Williams

Jennette Williams, a fine arts photography instructor at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, has been selected to receive the fourth Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography for her platinum prints and color photographs of women at European and Turkish bath houses. The Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) at Duke University and The Honickman Foundation (THF), based in Philadelphia, co-sponsor this prestigious biennial prize for American photographers. The only prize of its kind, the CDS / Honickman First Book Prize competition is open to American photographers of any age who have never published a book-length work.

Special Collections Biddle Rare Book Room Cases


Home Gardening for Love and the Kitchen Table

Seed and nursery catalogs, almanacs, ‘how to’ books, and cookbooks tell a colorful story about the gardening of flowers, fruits, and vegetables in the U.S. Examples of women’s writing about gardening will also be featured in this exhibit.


Highlighting Human Rights

An exhibit drawn from the diverse materials making up the collections of the Archive for Human Rights at the Duke University Libraries