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Consider hosting a traveling exhibit from NLM!

Poster for the Darwin Exhibit
Melissa DeSantis
Deputy Director
Health Science Library University of Colorado
melissa.desantis@ucdenver.edu

The Health Sciences Library at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus hosted a traveling exhibit from the NLM in the spring of 2011. The exhibit was “Rewriting the Book of Nature: Charles Darwin and the Rise of Evolutionary Theory.” It was very easy to apply for this exhibit. We just had to send an e-mail to the Exhibitions Program at NLM and request one of the available dates for the exhibit. There was no fee to host this exhibit except to pay for shipping of the exhibit to our library. NLM says this amount is usually between $200-$400 and we spent $120.

This exhibit did not require any programming to take place in conjunction with the exhibit, but we did organize and host two speaker events during the six weeks we had the exhibit on display. Both speakers were faculty on our campus and were happy to participate. One speaker presented on Darwin’s physical illnesses and the other presented on the topic of religion and evolution. Both events were well received and brought people into our library.

Photo of exhibit set up in library This particular exhibit was relatively small as it consisted of just four floor standing banners. Because the space we set up the exhibit in was a bit larger, we added to the exhibit by displaying items in our collection that were written by Darwin or his contemporaries. We also set up a DVD on repeat that played a documentary with free performance rights discussing Darwin and his theory of evolution.

The process to apply for and host this exhibit was very easy and I’d encourage other libraries to consider hosting a traveling exhibit too. NLM has a variety of traveling exhibits available. Most of them are very low cost to host and they come in a variety of sizes. Check out what is currently available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/about/exhibition/travelingexhibitions.html

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