For Students

Student-Curated Exhibits at Yale University Library

Yale University Library encourages and supports students to work with materials and primary sources from the library's diverse collections. We offer several opportunities for students to curate exhibits based on their research. Student curators are selected by a library committee based on proposal quality and recommendations from faculty and librarians. Preference is given to projects using less well known collections.  Opportunities include:

Senior Exhibit (Proposals due Oct. 22, 2018)

One Yale College senior each year receives library funding, mentoring, and production support to create and curate a professional-quality exhibit based on senior essay research using materials from a Yale Library archive or collection. The exhibit opens in mid-April and runs through mid-October in Sterling Memorial Library's Wall Street Exhibition Corridor. 

To be considered for the Senior Exhibit that will open in April 2019, submit your proposal by Oct. 22, 2018, together with letters of support from a faculty advisor and a librarian exhibit advisor who agree to work with and advise you throughout the project.

In all cases, the exhibit will be based on the same research as your senior essay or thesis. As a student curator, you will have an opportunity to explore presenting your research in a different narrative form--with a strong visual component, a defined physical space, and its own conventions and practices.

Yale University Library's exhibit professionals, under the direction of Exhibit Program Manager Kerri Sancomb, will work closely with the selected student, faculty advisor, and library advisor to plan and mount the exhibit. They will provide production tools, templates, technical expertise, and guidance for the physical production of the exhibit. They also coordinate schedules, deadlines, and management of collections materials.  

Some academic departments may accept the exhibit as a senior project, or in partial fulfillment of the senior project requirements. However, any such arrangement is at the discretion of the academic department. The student curator is responsible for discussing the senior project requirements with the academic department and securing the necessary approvals for use of the exhibit in this way. 

For more information, read the guide for Senior Exhibit Project Applicants and the overviews of student curator responsibilities. Review the exhibit production calendar.

Student Research at Yale University Library Exhibit

This exhibit opens in mid-October and runs through mid-April in the Wall Street Exhibition Corridor of Sterling Memorial Library. Four students, undergraduate or graduate, are selected each year to help create and curate a joint exhibit highlighting their research with any Yale University Library collections or resources. The selected student-curators will work with the exhibit program staff to select collection objects to be produced in facsimile for the exhibit and to write  introductory and explanatory text. Compared to the Senior Exhibit Project, this is a less time-intensive opportunity to begin learning about exhibit production, and it may be based on research done in any semester.

How to apply: Write a statement of interest and secure nomination by a librarian or faculty member. Begin by discussing your research with a faculty member or subject librarian in your academic discipline. If they are unfamiliar with the exhibit program refer them to the nominating information for  Faculty and for Library Staff. See the Fall 2018 exhibit production calendar  for a sense of the deadlines and workflow, and review the content requirements for the Student Research Exhibit

Fall and Spring Exhibits in the Sterling Memorial Library Memorabilia Room

Exhibits in this prominent space adjacent to the Manuscripts and Archives department and Sterling Memorial Library's primary lecture hall may be curated by library staff, Yale faculty, and other campus affiliates as well as students. It is a large space and generally scheduled more than a year in advance. Thus, student curators here have tended to be graduate students curating in-depth exhibits based on dissertion research.  Interested students must have a well-developed proposal and a commitment from a faculty advisor and  librarian exhibit advisor to work with the student throughout the project. The library covers exhibit production costs, and the library's exhibit management professionals provide extensive support with scheduling and management of collections materials as well as providing production tools, templates, and guidance for exhibit production.

Familiarize yourself with the  graduate student curator responsibilities  and the  faculty advisor exhibit responsibilities

Please note: The Memorabilia Room is currently scheduled through the beginning of 2020. If you are interesting in proposing an exhibit for 2020 or beyond, contact kerri.sancomb@yale.edu.

If you are just getting started ...

Learning how to do research in the collections is the first step toward any exhibit opportunity. Start by getting to  know your personal librarian or subject librarian, as well as archivists and collection specialists. Explore and discover the collections at archives.yale. edu. Get ideas by looking at previous years' exhibits via the SML Exhibits LibGuide. Learn about opportunities to create online exhibits at Yale University Library.