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Upcoming Events

Online Exhibitions

Panama Canal

Nature’s Fury: The Science of Natural Disasters
No place on earth is immune from natural disasters from tornadoes, heat waves, and droughts to floods, ice storms, volcanoes, and earthquakes. Nature’s Fury explores the science behind these natural disasters and how science has attempted to understand them.

Blade and Bone

Mapping the Moon: A Brief History of Lunar Cartography from Galileo to the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
Galileo first turned his telescope to the Moon in late 1609, and the field of selenography, the study of the physical geography of the moon, was born. The four centuries since then have seen telescopes become more powerful and space probes and astronauts orbit and land on the Moon. Today, astronomers continue to chart the lunar surface with more precise techniques. Mapping the Moon explores this exciting history of lunar cartography that has helped shed light on the origins of our solar system.

The Transcontinental Railroad

Connecting the Dots: The Science of CSI
High-profile murder cases and popular television programs such as CSI, Bones, and Forensics Files have brought the laboratory work of forensic scientists into mainstream popular culture. Connecting the Dots explores the history of several disciplines within forensic science: fingerprints, chemistry, biology, firearms, photography, and trace evidence.

Panama Canal

Flying Machines: A History of Early Aviation
When Orville and Wilbur Wright first flew their airplane at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in December 1903, transportation moved at a slow pace. Railroad steam engines, automobiles, and steamboats averaged from 5 to 20 miles per hour. But within a generation of the Wright Brother’s invention, aviation had developed into transatlantic flights and forever changed the social, cultural, and economic fabric of the world. Flying Machines explores the history of heavier-than-air flight from the 18th century to the 1910s.

Blade and Bone

Ribbons Across the Land: Building the U.S Interstate Highway System
Canals and rivers; railroads; the Goods Roads Movement; Italy’s autostrade and especially Germany’s Autobahn, a highway project that inspired President Eisenhower to push for a U.S. Interstate Highway System.

The Transcontinental Railroad

Drawn from Nature: Art, Science, and the Study of Birds
Roles that artists, scientists, and amateur bird watchers have played in identifying, cataloging, and popularizing the study of North American birds from the 18th century to today.

Panama Canal

The Land Divided, The World United: Building the Panama Canal
The building of the Panama Canal was one of the greatest civil engineering achievements in American history. This site explores the dynamic period of canal building through the eyes of Office Engineer A. B. Nichols, who lived and worked in Panama from 1904 until the Canal opened in 1914. The exhibition features essays, images, an interactive timeline, and links to digitized material from the Nichols Collection.

Blade and Bone

Blade and Bone: The Discovery of Human Antiquity
In 1800, it was generally believed that humans were a relatively recent addition to the earth, dating back some 6000 years. By 1920, it was commonly understood that humans had been on earth for a very long time, had lived in rock shelters and used tools fashioned from flint, and had expressed themselves artistically in bone carvings and cave paintings. This exhibition documents the discovery of human antiquity as presented in the original books and journals.

The Transcontinental Railroad

The Transcontinental Railroad
In the 1860s, the building of the Pacific Railway, the first transcontinental railroad, united the continent and utterly changed life in America. This site chronicles the building of the railroad and provides information on the history of 19th century railroad technology. The site also features an interactive timeline and links to the full text of the Library’s collection of 19th century American railroad journals.

The Atomic Age

The Atomic Age
The atomic age began with a handful of scientists investigating radioactivity decades before the first atomic bomb exploded at the Trinity Test Site in New Mexico on July 16, 1945. In this three-part online exhibition explore the history of atomic science, expand your nuclear physics knowledge, and discover how radiation is part of our daily lives.

Thinking Outside the Sphere

Thinking Outside the Sphere
The ancient view of the stars, fixed in a crystalline sphere at the boundary of an earth-centered universe, was compelling. This exhibition documents, in books from the time of the Renaissance to the early nineteenth century, why the idea of a sphere of stars arose in the first place, and how the research and observations of astronomers finally dissolved it. Scientists began to comprehend the stars as inhabiting vast regions of an ever changing universe.
Full Exhibition Catalog


The Grandeur of Life
Charles Darwin was born on February 12, 1809. When he was fifty years old, in 1859, he published On the Origin of Species, a book destined to radically change our view of the living world. In 2009, we celebrate both the bicentennial of Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his great work.

Paper Dinosaurs

Paper Dinosaurs 1824-1969
Dinosaurs have excited the public imagination ever since the first dinosaur was described in 1824. This exhibition features original printed materials related to the history of dinosaur discovery.

Ice: A Victorian Romance

Ice: A Victorian Romance
This exhibition explores the Victorian fascination with polar and glacial ice in the period from 1818 to 1860. In 1818, the British Navy began to send out expeditions in search of a Northwest Passage, broadening the search around 1840 to include Antarctica. Also around 1840, the glacial theory was proposed and debated, and the ice at the poles became the key to envisioning the ice ages of the past.

Out of this World

Out of this World: The Golden Age of the Celestial Atlas
The exhibition features forty-three star atlases and maps, covering the period from 1482 to 1851. They capture the sweeping grandeur of the heavens, and are among the most beautiful scientific books ever made.

Scientific Expedition to Egypt

Napoleon and the Scientific Expedition to Egypt
The French expeditionary force that occupied Egypt under Napoleon’s command from July 1798 until 1801 included some of France’s leading scientists. Their work was published as the Description de l’Égypte, which is featured in this exhibition, along with other rare books that document the story of the French scientific expedition to Egypt.

Women's Work

Women’s Work: Portraits of 12 Scientific Illustrators
Drawn from the collections of the Linda Hall Library and Missouri Botanical Garden Library, this exhibit highlights scientific illustrations by six historic women and demonstrates the strong foundation they built by also presenting the work of six contemporary women scientific illustrators.

Vulcan's Forge

Vulcan’s Forge and Fingal’s Cave
An exhibition of 66 books and journals, published between 1565 and 1835, on volcanoes, basalt, and the discovery of geological time.

Civil Engineering

Centuries of Civil Engineering
An Exhibition of rare books celebrating the heritage of civil engineering, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the American Society of Civil Engineers


Voyages: Scientific Circumnavigations 1679-1859
The Linda Hall Library’s collection of the published monuments to the great expeditions of the age of sail is featured in this exhibition.


The Face of the Moon: Galileo to Apollo
This is an online version of an exhibition catalog that was originally published in 1989. Written by William B. Ashworth, Jr., it won the First Place Award in the annual competition sponsored by the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries.