Traveling Exhibitions: What’s Your Inspiration?

The ALA Public Programs Office is always working to create new traveling exhibition opportunities for libraries. Traveling exhibitions and related public programs, including lectures by scholars, panel discussions, book and film discussions, curriculum activities, and concerts, offer exciting learning opportunities for library communities. In order to shed light on the topics libraries are most interested in, we recently posed the following questions to our project discussion lists:

  • What subject area is your community most interested in learning more about?
  • Have you recently seen a museum exhibit that you wish you could easily share with your entire library community?
  • Do you have specific topics in mind that you would love to see developed in traveling exhibit format?

We received a substantial number of thoughtful responses from libraries, including the following topics:

  • American immigration past and present
  • Mexican-American history
  • American Civil War and its aftermath
  • The Great Depression
  • Female African-American writers
  • American film history
  • Graphic novels/comics
  • Bluegrass and folk music
  • Exhibits focused on individuals, including Leonardo da Vinci, Eleanor Roosevelt, Charles Darwin, and Maurice Sendak
  • Science and technology exhibits, including themes of space exploration, geology, climate change, and the development of alternative energy sources
  • Art exhibits focused on specific periods of history
  • American pottery

In addition, we received some responses with recommendations for specific exhibitions. One library highlighted a local exhibit as a potential traveling display: “Dinosaurs: The Big Picture” currently on display at the Community Arts Center in Danville, Kentucky. Another recommended a traveling display of artwork from Caldecott Medal-winning picture books.

What do you think? Do you have your own suggestion for a traveling exhibition? The ALA Public Programs Office values your feedback—your ideas will help us move forward in our ongoing process to identify project partners and develop appealing traveling exhibitions for libraries across the country. You are invited to share your inspiration in the comment section below.