Current and Permanent Library Exhibits

Alebrijes - Creatures of a Dream World

Alebrijes - Creatures of a Dream World exhibitThe creatures have arrived! NIU Libraries in collaboration with the Mexican Cultural Center of DuPage present a nine month exhibit featuring 22 whimsical alebrije sculptures throughout Founders Memorial Library. The word alebrijes—pronounced ah-leh-bree-hehs—refers to imaginary creatures that possess elements from different animals. They originated in the 1930s from the vivid dreams of Mexico City artist Pedro Linares. The artistic tradition of alebrijes gained popular exposure in the United States with “Coco,” the 2017 Disney/Pixar film. Visit our online exhibit or join us through November 8th.


"The Way of Progress was Neither Swift nor Easy": Celebrating Women in Science

image for Women in Science exhibit"The Way of Progress was Neither Swift nor Easy"1 honors women of science and their innovative spirit - featuring not only towering figures, such as the two-time Nobel Prize-winner, Marie Curie (1867-1934), and "first lady of Physics Research" Chien-Shiung Wu (1912-1997), but also lesser-known scientists such as Fátima de Madrid (fl. 10th century CE), Alessandra Giliani (1307-1326), Caroline Lucretia Herschel (1750-1848), Anandibai Joshi (1865-1887), Mary Agnes Meara Chase (1869-1963), and Katherine Johnson (1918-2020), as well as important women working in STEM today, such as Sau Lan Wu, (c. 1940s-), Mae C. Jemison (1956- ), Ellen Ochoa (1958-), Cynthia Breazeal (1967-), and Emmanuelle Charpentier (1968-).

1. Curie, M. (1923). Pierre Curie: With Autobiographical Notes (C. Kellogg & V. Kellogg, Trans.). Macmillan. p. 167.

The Art of Thai Comics

cover of comic for thai comics exhibitThe exhibit looks at the art and history of Thai comics with insight from Nicolas Verstappen, instructor at Chulalongkorn University and author of The Art of Thai Comics: A Century of Strips and Stripes.

Women's voices in Southeast Asia

Women in Southeast Asia have used their voices to effect change for centuries. They took part in nationalist movements, fought for their countries’ independence and for the rights of women and the poor. They have also supported various causes like arts, education, health, and the environment. Some of these women are well known and others less so. Their contributions helped shape the world for the women of today. This exhibit features women of the past and present who have lent their voices to various causes, to make the world better for generations to come.

Will Marion Cook: Musical Activism 100 Years Ago

Will Marion Cook, January 27, 1869 to July 19, 1944, was recognized for his originality as a composer and for pioneering progress and transformation in black musical comedy, popular music, and syncopated orchestral music. He mentored many musicians, most notably Duke Ellington, jazz musician, Margaret Bonds, composer and pianist, and Eva Jessye, choral conductor. He studied violin at Oberlin Conservatory the mid 1880s and went on to study with Joseph Joachim in Germany. Cook returned from Europe in 1890 and continued performing on his violin, took up conducting, and began composing. He attended the National Conservatory of Music and studied with Antonín Dvorák. Shortly thereafter, Cook collaborated with Paul Laurence Dunbar, poet, on a ragtime operetta called Clorindy, or The Origin of the Cakewalk. It was the first all-black musical to appear on Broadway which introduced the style of syncopated song and dance to the art form. He continued making strides in musical theatre, vaudeville, and popular music. His In Dahomey, written in 1902, was the first full length musical written and performed by all black people on Broadway. It went on to be performed across the ocean, in London and at Buckingham Palace.

Cook's use of syncopation and chromaticism in popular song writing made him unique among his contemporaries. He wrote many songs about love and patriotism, but he also wrote songs that focused on Negro stereotypes, African folk themes, and ethnic humor.

Traditional Dance and Ceremony in Southeast Asia

image for Traditional Dance and Ceremony in Southeast Asia exhibitThe exhibit features books, photos and information about traditional dances from Burma, the Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia.


HC SVNT DRACONES (Here Be Dragons)

image for HC SVNT DRACONES exhibitMonsters and Serpents were drawn on maps to indicate unknown or unexplored territories, but dragons have long captured the imagination of humans. They first appeared in myths, legends, folklore, and religion, then found their way into fantasy and fiction. Some represent the elements, some are deities, some are wise, some are greedy, some are kind, and some are cruel. They come in various sizes, shapes, and colors, but most importantly dragons are really, really, cool.

Founders Gallery, Founders Memorial Library Main Floor August-September 2022

Southeast Asia Children’s Literature

image for Southeast Asia Children’s Literature exhibitThe Southeast Asia Collection is featuring an exhibit on children’s literature. The picture books on display include animal stories, Cinderella stories, folktales, and young adult stories from Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

A Sleuth Unacknowledged: An Exploration of African American Detective Fiction

image for african american fiction exhibitStories of criminals and their crimes have always been with us, but African American authors have only recently had the opportunity to write works of detective fiction that explore how crime and justice impact black lives. As contemporary author Tracy Clark reminds, African American voices weren’t entirely absent, but they were stifled: "There have been black writers writing black detectives since the beginning of the 20th century. There were black Holmes' and black Marlowes and black Marples, policemen, amateur sleuths, and private eyes, coexisting with their 'mainstream' counterparts almost since the beginning of modern crime fiction, but they were ignored, unseen, unpublished." "A Sleuth Unacknowledged" is an investigation into the often ignored and obscured history of African American detective writing and an examination of the growing power of Black voices in the genre in the twenty-first century.

Deeds not Words: Women and the Vote

Deeds not Words: Women and the Vote explores the story of female suffrage through a multi-focal lens: examining the local, national, and international debates surrounding voting rights through the use of text, sound, and image, while offering a historical, cultural, and political context that illuminates voting and voting rights in the 21st century.

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Founders Memorial Library
217 Normal Rd
DeKalb, IL 60115-2828
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