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The Special Collections Exhibition programme is currently on hiatus. The University of Otago Library plans to re-initiate its Exhibitions Programme in 2023.

The Special Collections Gallery hosts regular exhibitions showcasing the collections and celebrating the history and research of the University of Otago. Find out more about our exhibitions, many of which are documented online.


Exhibitions are mounted in:

The de Beer Gallery
First Floor
Central Library
65 Albany Street

Open to
Monday to Friday

For enquiries and consultations, contact:

Special Collections Librarian
Tel +64 3 473 8330

Past exhibitions

30 October 2020–31 October 2021

Out of the Vault: Gothic Literature and ales of the Supernatural

21 February–10 July 2020

This Book Belongs To …

21 June–13 September 2019

1869: The Year That Was

21 June–13 September 2019

The Female of the Species: A Celebration of Women in History

22 March–7 June 2019

For the love of books: Collectors and Collections

14 December 2018–15 March 2019

Medical Marvels: Treasures from the Health Sciences Library

7 September 2018–7 December 2018

Auld Acquaintances: Celebrating the Robert Burns Fellowship

15 June–31 August 2018

All the Year Round: Exploring the Nineteenth-Century Periodical

16 March–1 June 2018

A Middle Eastern Odyssey: Constantinople to Palmyra

15 December–9 March 2018

Moving to the Left: The Art and Development of the Frontispiece

15 September–8 December 2017

Parlez-vous français? Celebrating France & the French

16 June–8 September

Intrepid Journeys: Travelling with the Hakluyt Society

24 March–9 June 2017

500 Years On. Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation

9 December 2016–17 March 2017

Keeping it in the Family: British and Irish Literary Generations, 1770-1930

1 September 2016–2 December 2016

A Letterpress Legacy: The Dartmouth College Book Arts Workshop

10 June 2016–26 August 2016

Scholarly Favourites. Researching in Special Collections Exhibition, University of Otago

11 March 2016–3 June 2016

Fashion Rules OK

11 December 2015–4 March 2016

By Land and By Sea: Scientific Expedition Reports in Special Collections from 1826 to the 1960s

28 August–27 November 2015

The Melrose Library: Reflecting the Life and Works of Sir F. Truby King

5 June–21 August 2015

Black + White + Grey. The Lives + Works of Eric Gill + Robert Gibbings

12 March–29 May 2015

Aliens, Androids & Unicorns.  The Hal Salive Science Fiction and Fantasy Collection

17 December–23 March 2014

The World of Joseph W. Mellor (1869-1938)

11 September–5 December 2014

Celebrating Botany (1924-2014)

11 June–5 September 2014

Viva l'Italia. A Regional Romp through Italy

21 March–23 May 2014

Make It New! Modernism & the Medieval Presence

20 December 2013–14 March 2014

Rare Delights III. Recent Additions to Special Collections

27 September–13 December 2013

Reaching Out: Celebrating 100 years of Otago Physiotherapy Graduates

28 June–20 September 2013

Maths, Politics and Concrete: The Legacy of the Classical World

5 April–25 June 2013

Celebrating Pharmacy

20 December 2012–22 March 2013

From Pigskin to Paper: The Art and Craft of Bookbinding

21 September–13 December 2012

Celebrating Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

22 June–14 September 2012

Charting the Land on the Ocean: Pacific Exploration, 1520-1876

23 March–15 June 2012

Ray Guns & Rocket Ships. The Fred Fastier Science Fiction Collection

21 December 2011 to 16 March 2012

The Gentleman's Magazine: The 18th century answer to Google

30 September–16 December 2011

In Search of Scotland

1 July–23 September 2011

Experimental Philosophy: old and new

1 April–17 June 2011

Forging a Magical Landscape: The Works of Robert Graves, Poet

17 December 2010–25 March 2011

Faces of Authorship: Constructing the Author in Medieval and Early Modern Books

27 August to 10 December 2010

Pulp Fiction

14 May–20 August

ALL ABOARD! The Ernie Webber Railway Collection

8 February–7 May

Footnotes on Official History: Celebrating Dr Hocken's Pamphlet Collection

30 October 2009–29 January 2010

Heresy, Sedition, Obscenity: The Book Challenged

13 July–23 October 2009

'I sat down in the evening to read...' Books from the Library of Charles Brasch, Poet, 1909-1973

8 April–3 July 2009

Beetles, Barnacles, Orchids, and the Origin of Species: Charles Darwin and His Legacy

19 December 2008–27 March 2009

A Record of Achievement: The 50th Birthday of the Otago University Press

29 August–12 December 2008

Nourishing the Roots: an exhibition celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Robert Burns Fellowship at the University of Otago

5 May–22 August 2008

Éire á Móradh: Singing the Praises of Ireland

25 February - 25 April 2008

Rare Delights II: Recent Additions to Special Collections

20 December 2007 - 1 February 2008

RETROSPECTIVE: A look back at the last 21 Special Collections exhibitions

17 October to 14 December 2007

Initials: In the Beginning...

6 July to 28 September 2007

Linnaeus, Prince of Botanists: His Works and Legacy

11 April to 29 June 2007

A Quick Stab at the Eighteenth Century

12 December 2006–30 March 2007

Master of the Burin: the book illustrations of John Buckland Wright, 1897-1954

4 September–1 December 2006

In the Flesh. The Monro Dynasty 1720-1846.

1 June–25 August 2006

The Black Art: Hand-printing in the Bibliography Room, 1961-2005

10 February–26 May 2006

West Meets East: Images of China and Japan, 1570 to 1920

17 October 2005–27 January 2006

Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass

11 July–23 September 2005

The Word on Modernism: How Books Aided a Revolution in Design

11 April–24 June 2005

"£100 & a butt of sack yearly" The office of the poet laureate

20 December 2004–31 March 2005

Straight Jackets: the Art of the Book Jacket

20 September–10 December 2004

'A Civilising Mission' : New Zealanders and the Rhodes Scholarship 1904–2004

24 June–10 September 2004

41 Stunning Books: A selection of modern private press books

23 March–11 June 2004

Glimpses of London's Past

25 November 2003–12 March 2004

He tirohanga ki muri ~ A view of the past

4 July–17 November 2003

Harmonizing my starting place: Charles Brasch, patron, poet and collector

21 March–27 June 2003

Cultivating Gardens: Practical garden advice through the ages

13 December 2002–13 March 2003

Rare Delights: recent additions to Special Collections

12 September–28 November 2002

Unpacking Ruins: architecture from antiquity

21 June–1 September 2002

Enlarging the prospects of happiness: European travel writing through the ages

21 March–13 June 2002

Portrait of a gentleman scholar: celebrating the life and legacy of Esmond de Beer


Need help? Talk to one of our friendly Library staff.

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