Browse Exhibits (14 total)

Bidloo and Cowper: Anatomists in Conflict

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This exhibition will examine three anatomical atlases, two produced by the Dutch anatomist Govard Bidloo, and one produced by the English anatomist William Cowper. These atlases are titled Anatomia Humani Corporis (1685), Ontleding des Meschelyken Lichaams (1690), and The Anatomy of Humane Bodies (1690). This exhibition will examine these atlases in relation to their circumstances of production, their reception, and relation between each other. This exhibition will also provide a discussion on the relationship between Govard Bidloo and William Cowper and their atlases, focussing on themes of copyright, plagiarism, and competition between medical professionals.

This exhibition is part of a larger project within the AVC*6500 Directed Reading course under the supervision of Dr. Sally Hickson (SOFAM), and will act as a foundation for a portion of an upcoming thesis that looks at Anatomia Humani Corporis within broader social, religious, and scientific discourse in the Early Modern Dutch Republic.

Brutalism at Guelph: Concrete in a New Light

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Atrium in South residence

Bold, raw and unapologetic, Brutalism is an attitude as much as a style. The concrete builders of the 1960s believed unequivocally that modern problems could be solved with modern design. This exhibition sheds new light on Brutalism by examining its impact on the University of Guelph. The term “Brutalism” came into use in the 1950s to describe the concrete architecture emerging in the United Kingdom and Europe, including Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier’s expressive béton brut—literally meaning “raw concrete.” Established in 1964, the University of Guelph was born in a decade of ambitious nation-building across Canada, culminating in Montreal’s Expo ’67. Higher education was a priority with 12 new universities being built across the country—eight in Ontario alone. The Brutalist ethic was in full swing. Concrete, with its affordability, speed of construction and expressive sculptural qualities, was the material of choice. Five decades on, what can we learn from this intense building effort and the zealous optimism Brutalism represents? How might this attitude inform future campus evolution?

Items for this exhibit were selected and researched by art history and landscape architecture students in the experiential learning course ARTH*4800. 

Co-Curators: Wilfred Ferwerda (manager, Physical Resources), Sally Hickson (director, School of Fine Art and Music)

Assistant Curator: Kathryn Harvey (head, Archival & Special Collections)

Student Curators: Katelyn Bakos, Elizabeth Bray, Lauren Dickson, Aleksandra Fallenbuchi, Ronique Gillis, Katherine Hochman, Michelle Jacobs, Andrew May, Sarah Oatley, Nicole Smith, Anthony Vomisescu

Consultants: James Ashby (conservation architect and independent scholar, Ottawa), Walter Kehm (landscape architect and original master plan team member, Toronto), Michael McClelland (architect and editor, Concrete Toronto: A Guide to Concrete Architecture from the Fifties to the Seventies, Toronto), Owen Scott (landscape architect and original master plan team member, Guelph), Brendan Stewart (assistant professor, landscape architecture)

Additional Support from Archival & Special Collections Staff: Graham Burt, Lara Carleton, Gillian Manford, Melissa McAfee, Ashley Shifflett McBrayne, Kristyn Pacione



Welcome to the HIST*1200, History of Stuff, site! 

In this class, a group of curious and industrious first-year students drawn from a variety of disciplines at the University of Guelph cut their teeth in archival research, exploring the extraordinary history of 'ordinary stuff'.

This is the result of our tireless work -- an exhibit highlighting the disparate materials that we have explored. In researching their origins, historical contexts and uses, we have underscored the incedible history that lies, often hidden, behind everyday materials.  In addition reading to the class's insights into the individual archived object, you can click on each main object image to reveal more details about it!

We invite you to explore the site -- and to remember, as you consider discarding items that may seem to have outlived their usefulness, that those items may be in fact beginning a new life, which makes them a source of incredible value to historians.  Everyday 'ephemera' -- the cast-offds and disposables that lie hidden in attics, and the botttom of drawers -- tell incredible stories about our past.

From Glen Notes to War Notes: A Canadian Perspective on the First World War in Rilla of Ingleside

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This exhibit examines L.M. Montgomery’s novel, Rilla of Ingleside against its First World War backdrop. Each section of the exhibit is curated to show the perspective of characters from the book—Rilla, Walter, Anne, Susan, Jem, Shirley, and Whiskers-on-the-Moon. Topics include: (1) lost youth, (2) the home front, (3) the battle front, (4) war poets, (5) pacifism, and (6) L.M. Montgomery’s creative process in writing Rilla of Ingleside.

Rilla of Ingleside was L. M. Montgomery’s tenth novel and the last book in the Anne of Green Gables series. The story begins just before the start of the First World War and follows the war to its end. It depicts life in a small Canadian community in Prince Edward Island during the War and focuses on the Blythe family, which includes Anne and her husband Gilbert, and their children, Rilla, Walter, Jem, and Shirley.

As the novel is framed by newspaper accounts of local events and the war, we decided to call the exhibit “From Glen Notes to War Notes” to reflect the transition in interest by Susan Baker, the Blythe family’s housekeeper, from the local affairs of Glen St. Mary (the community in which they live) and reported in the “Glen Notes” column of the local newspaper to foreign affairs reported in the “War Notes” column.

Materials selected for the exhibit were drawn primarily from the library’s extensive Lucy Maud Montgomery Collection. In particular, the curators looked at important editions of the novel and the original manuscript of the book, Montgomery’s journals and scrapbooks, and her photograph collection. To contextualize the book against its First World War backdrop, we identified materials on the War from the archives of the Ontario Agricultural College, Ontario Veterinary College, and MacDonald Institute.

The online exhibit was based on a physical case exhibit (launched in March 2018), which was curated by University Guelph librarians, History students, and faculty. Among these were two fourth-year undergraduate history majors, who participated as part of an experiential learning experience for course credit.
Curators of the physical exhibit: Catherine Carstairs (Professor History), Kathryn Harvey (Head, Archival & Special Collections), Keshia Krucker (4th year student, History), Kesia Kvill (Ph.D candidate, History), Melissa McAfee (Special Collections Librarian), Abigail Murray (4th year student, History), and Ashley Shifflett McBrayne (Archives Associate).

Curators of the online exhibit: Peter Flannery (MA candidate, Art History), Melissa McAfee (Special Collections Librarian), and Kristyn Pacione (Archives Clerk).

Metadata Consultant: Gillian Manford (Archives Clerk).

Illuminating Life: Manuscript Pages of the Middle Ages

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The manuscripts of the Middle Ages are the source of lively and enduring interest. Their popularity has persisted well into the age of print and digital media, where they continue to command a lasting imaginative appeal. To turn their pages is to make tactile contact with the past. It evokes a sense of continuity and invites comparison. In their pages we find traces of lives long gone—the wear and tear of frequent thumbing, annotations in the margins, obituaries attached to the text—and signs of their importance to their owners, for whom manuscripts were prized and often personalized possessions. In all cases, they were written (scriptum) by hand (manū), and many were illuminated, or embellished with gold and precious pigments and adorned with carefully wrought initials and illustrations. Even with the advent of print and movable type during the fifteenth century, many of these decorated elements remained, evidencing the longstanding and important connection between books and material culture.

Of the manuscripts and printed books on display here, many are illuminated, some lavishly, while others are more standard and less ornate editions. Yet they all brim with signs of use and cast an illuminating light on life in the later Middle Ages and beyond. Books were far less common during this period than they are today, though they nevertheless served important educational and devotional roles for those who owned or used them. Several of those displayed here contain annotations made by students, teachers, and others who studied the text, while others were used by priests and preachers who provided religious guidance and instruction to their communities. The Psalter and the Book of Hours were objects used for individual prayer and devotion, while the Office of the Dead bears signs of its use by a religious community who turned its pages on many occasions. These manuscripts and printed books (incunables), whose contents range from literary to liturgical and legal to theological, invite us to consider historical change and continuity as we turn their pages. We contemplate the decline in the centrality of religious observance since the period of these manuscripts, while at the same time we recognize a certain continuity between then and now as we encounter the manuscripts’ myriad of marginal annotations.

Nine of the books on display were loaned to the University of Guelph from Les Enluminures, a rare book and manuscript dealer with offices in Chicago, New York, and Paris. They come to us as part of Les Enluminures’ Manuscripts in the Curriculum II program, which provides institutions and their students with an unparalleled opportunity to work directly with original manuscripts (an activity usually reserved for researchers and collectors). The three remaining texts come from the University of Guelph’s own Archival and Special Collections. This exhibit, produced by four experiential learning classes at the undergraduate and graduate levels in conjunction with faculty and staff members, is designed to illuminate our understanding of the Middle Ages through the pages of its manuscripts.


Nadia Boulanger and the Stravinskys


Nadia Bolanger and the Stravinskys: A Selected Correspondence - Edited by Kimberly A Francis

Nadia Boulanger and Igor Stravinsky began corresponding in 1929 when Stravinsky sought someone to supervise the musical education of his younger son, Soulima. Boulanger accepted the position and began what would prove to be a warm and lasting dialogue with the Stravinsky family. For fifty years, Boulanger exchanged letters with Igor Stravinsky. An additional 140 letters exist written to Boulanger from Stravinsky's immediate family: his wife Catherine, his mother Anna, and his sons Théodore and Soulima.

Nadia Boulanger and the Stravinskys: A Selected Correspondence makes available a rich selection from this many-sided dialogue. The letters are published here in English translation (most for the first time in their entirety or at all). The little-known French originals are available on the book's companion website. The letters allow us to follow the conversation shared between Boulanger and the Stravinskys from 1929 until 1972, the year following Igor Stravinsky's death. Through the words they exchanged, we see Boulanger and Stravinsky transition from respectful colleagues to close friends to, finally, distant icons, with music serving always as a central topic. These letters are a testament to one master teacher's power to shape the cultural canon and one composer's desire to embed himself within historical narratives. Their words touch upon matters professional and personal, musical and social, with the overall narrative reflecting the turmoil of life during the twentieth century and the fragility of artists hoping to leave their mark on the modernist period.



Canada’s has one of the world’s most dynamic and robust food systems. Blessed with abundant natural resources and populated by people with an incredible range of native, foreign and domestic culinary traditions, it seems that just about any recipe associated with a traditional ethnic cuisine could be prepared using foods produced, or easily available, in Canada.  Close to 100 students in the Cultural Aspects of Food explored this idea using a class project during the fall semester of 2017

The exhibits in this collection were prepared by undergraduate students. Each exhibit started with a curiosity about an ethnic-culturally distinct cuisine and a cookbook  To create the exhibit, students did a primary analysis of the cookbook and a selected recipe, calculated the cost of preparing it for 4 adults, prepared a nutritional profile and conducted a basic value chain analysis for recipe’s essential and distinctive ingredients.  Students purchased their own ingredients, prepared their recipes and served their culinary creations to classmates in order to obtain feedback.  All students presented their research work in class, received reviews and wrote the text that appears in their exhibits.  With the exception of the images of cookbook covers, all photos in this exhibit were taken by students, and almost always on a smart phone.

The exhibit is arranged into 11 "kitchens" with 4 to 6 recipes each. Kitchen #1 features Vintage Recipes published before 1967; Kitchen #2 features New World Classics from Mexico and Peru. The next kitchens feature meat focused recipes; Kitchen #3 Pork, Kitchen #4 Beef, Veal or Lamb and Kitchen #5 Chicken and Fish. Kitchen #6 features rice dishes, while Kitchen#7 contains vegetarian dishes.  Kitchen#8 is for Soup and Kitchen#9 is for Appetizers. Kitchens #10 and #11 were needed for all the desserts. When you enter each kitchen, you will see a menu of the ethnic cuisines and the associated recipes. Each recipe and the student work follows.

Enjoy! Bon Appetit, Eet smakelik, Selamat makan, 请享用, Umeed hai key apko pasand aye, Prijatnogo appetita, 楽しい ,SAHTEIN ... and more

This exhibit was curated by Dr. Erna van Duren, Professor, School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management and Tianyue Yue, M.Sc. Student, School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management. 

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please email

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Scotland in the Mail! Postcards as Windows onto the Scottish Past

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What can a postcard tell us about the past? Since the first one was sent through the mail in 1869, people have sent, received, cherished and discarded these circulating artefacts. 

In fall 2019, HIST*1050, students in 'Invitation to History' set about to uncover the extraordinary histories of Scottish postcards. Their research reveals the rich artefactual history of the postcard—and the social, cultural, technological and economic histories that they can help us to tell.

This exhibit showcases their work.

We hope you will never think of a postcard in the same way again!

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Archival & Special Collections, University of Guelph Library, Guelph, ON


The Clan Leslie: A Celebration of 950 years of Leslies in Scottish History, Literature, and Culture.


This exhibition grew from a partnership with University of Guelph Library staff and  students in the History and Art History Departments at the University of Guelph to provide an experiential learning opportunity. Archival & Special Collections staff and faculty from the Art History Department guided the students in interpreting original primary resource materials from the Clan Leslie and Scottish Studies Collections in Archival & Special Collections and in curating the exhibition. It was originally launched as a physical exhibit in 10 cases in McLaughlin Library at the University of Guelph in August 2016 in honor of the Clan Leslies, the featured clan of the Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games in Fergus Ontario. 

The process of creating this exhibition has led us to many fascinating discoveries about the contributions of the Clan Leslie in literature, politics, religion, the domestic arts, and sciences in Scotland and beyond. These  achievements can be viewed in the #? sections of this digital exhibit. 

The University of Guelph is the official repository for the Clan Leslie Collection. We are grateful to the following individuals, who have donated materials to this collection over the years: Margaret Aitken (Acton, Ont) Donald W. Leslie (Abbeville, S. C.), Thomas G. Leslie, KSG (Chorleywood, Hertfordshire, UK), Gary A Leslie (Lexington, KY), Harold and Val Leslie (Didsbury, Alb), Robert Leslie (Acton, Ont), William Leslie, Sandy Eliza McDaniel (Evanston, Il), Diane L. Sadler (Pasadena, MD), James Barrie Leslie, (Gordon, New South Wales,  Aus) and David Leslie White (Ft Worth, TX).

This exhibit was curatated by:  

University of Guelph Library Staff

Janna Avon, Co-op Librarian from the University of British Columbia

Melissa McAfee, Special Collections Librarian

Ashley Shifflett McBrayne, Library Associate

Judy Wanner, Associate Librarian (retired)

University of Guelph Students

Jennifer Oldham, BA student, Psychology

Desiree Scholtz, BA student, History & Art History

Marian Toledo,  PhD student in Scottish History

The Enduring Value of ‘Ephemera’: Postcards from Scotland


Do you ever consider the potential value of today’s’ ‘throw-away’ items to future historians? Imagine how your emails, texts, Tweets and direct messages could be used to explore your life and the world in which you lived.

In fall 2019 students in UNIV*1200, ‘The History of Stuff’, spent a semester exploring Guelph’s extraordinary archival collections of ephemera, and came up with projects that reveal the exceptional evidentiary value of the postcard. Though we are long from its ‘Golden Age’ in the early twentieth century, the postcard has endured, especially as a medium of communication during travels. In this exhibit, we use Scotland as a case study to examine the richness of the postcard as an historical source.

We invite you to join us as we explore these ‘Greetings from Scotland’! 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Archival & Special Collections, University of Guelph Library, Guelph, ON

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