Library Exhibit Spotlights Historical Materials on Africa – OHIO University Libraries

Library Exhibit Spotlights Historical Materials on Africa

Ohio University Libraries will host an exhibit, titled “Africa in History: Books and Images from the Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections,” which will be displayed in the fourth floor lobby of Alden Library from July 25 through September 15, 2016.

Pictured here is “Africae tabula noua,” a copperplate map with added color, by cartographer and geographer Abraham Ortelius, circa 1584. (Image courtesy of Princeton University Library)
Pictured here is “Africae tabula noua,” a copperplate map with added color, by cartographer and geographer Abraham Ortelius, circa 1584. (Image courtesy of Princeton University Library)

“Africa in History” will feature artifacts, such as baskets and textiles from Botswana, in addition to travel narratives and guides, natural history works, textbooks, and juvenile or young adult books, with an emphasis on illustrations.

The exhibit is composed of items from the Libraries’ Travel Collection, Juvenile Literature Collection, Textbook Collection, and the General Rare Book Collection, which are housed in the Libraries’ Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections, as well as from the Center for International Collections.

According to Miriam Intrator, special collections librarian, the exhibit will “give visitors a glimpse into some of the historical materials we have related to Africa.”

“The books offer a view into various depictions of Africa, primarily from the 19th century, intended for English-speaking readers of all ages,” said Intrator. “The illustrations and descriptions often play into stereotypes and misunderstandings that prevailed at the time, but these texts remain important for allowing us to learn about those misconceptions and how they developed and evolved, and were circulated and disseminated.”

The “Africa in History” exhibit will coincide with the Libraries hosting the satellite meeting for the Africa section of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) Conference.

The exhibit is the result of a collaboration between Intrator, who curated the exhibit, and Araba Dawson-Andoh, Africana librarian, who is a member of IFLA’s Africa section.

“The Libraries’ hosting of the satellite serves to reinforce Ohio University’s rich history of collaborations with African institutions in the development of education and knowledge in Africa,” said Dawson-Andoh.

Please stop by the fourth floor lobby of Alden Library to view the exhibit and learn more about Alden Library’s rich special collections.