Bing wing and Munger rotunda

Art-brarian delights on display

The Green Library promotes book arts with its first Bing Wing exhibit, Building and Rebuilding, 1989-1999, which chronicled the history of Stanford Libraries’ collections in the aftermath of the Loma Prieta earthquake… Past library exhibits have been archived as far back as 1941, though these objects were displayed in free-standing cases within Special Collections Reading Room. Past themes have included Authors as Illustrators (1956), Medieval Women Book Collectors (1977), The Orchid Observed (1982), and Edward Gordon Craig and the Theatre of the Imagination (1986). Elizabeth Fischbach, the current Stanford University Libraries Exhibit Coordinator, began working for the program in the summer of 1989. As she recounts, “the following October, Gilbert White and the Natural History of Selbourne, marking the bicentennial of White’s enduring work, opened in the Lurie Rotunda. The opening reception took place in the afternoon of Sunday, October 15. At 5:04 p.m. on Tuesday, October 17, the Loma Prieta Earthquake shattered the hollow clay tile lining the walls of Green Library’s west wing. Declared unsafe, the building was closed for ten years while under repair.” During these reconstructive years, some small-scale exhibits were mounted in east wing lobby.

It was not until restoration of the library’s west wing, renamed the Bing Wing to honor its titular donors, Helen and Peter Bing, that library exhibits formally resumed. The construction of the Munger Rotunda was designed to offer a wonderful natural light source for viewers, and the Peterson Gallery provides additional gallery space and exhibit cases. The inaugural exhibition in 1999 showcased library materials acquired over the preceding decade, during which the Libraries continued a program of collection development in support of teaching and research despite temporary loss of space. Fischbach worked on subsequent library exhibits, including John Steinbeck: From Salinas to Stockholm (2000), Matt Phillips: The Magic in His Prints (2001), Making Books in the Woods: The Yolla Bolly Press (2002), In Folio: Rare Volumes in the Stanford University Libraries (2003), The Rediscovery of Africa, 1400–1900: Antique Maps & Rare Images (2004), and The Earthquake of 1906: Stanford University & Environs (2006). Currently on display is “Scripting the Sacred: Medieval Latin Manuscripts,” an exhibit co-curated by David Jordan and Kathryn Dickason that highlights medieval paleography and reading practices, now extended through March 17, 2013.

Scripting the Sacred Exhibit poster

Scripting the Sacred: Medieval Latin Manuscripts exhibit, now on display through March 17, 2013. Poster designed by Elizabeth Fischbach


Bios: Elizabeth Fischbach – Current Exhibits Manager and Designer for the Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries.
Helen and Peter Bing – Alumni couple, class of 1955, who have greatly enriched campus architecture, and the arts with their generations donations and philanthropic gestures.  Among them are Green Library’s’ east wing, rededicated as the Bing Wing in 1999, and most recently, the Bing Wing Concert Hall.

Charles T. and Nancy B. Munger – The patronage of Charles Munger and his wife Nancy (alumna, class of 1945) supported the construction of the library rotunda, now knows as the Munger Rotunda, a light-filled exhibit space on the second floor of Green Library.

Gregor G. and Dion Peterson – Beloved bibliophiles who granted Green a library exhibit space, now called the Peterson Gallery, in addition to several exhibit cases designed and built by Helmut Guenschel, Inc.