For Students

Student-Curated Exhibits at Yale University Library

Wall Street Exhibition Corridor, Sterling Memorial Library

Learn how to present your research using the unique narrative form of an exhibit.  The library’s exhibit staff will assist you to choose, describe, sequence, and arrange objects from the library’s diverse collections.

Our primary student-curated exhibit opportunities are:

Senior Exhibit (April - October) Proposal Deadline September 30, 2019

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.

To be considered for the Senior Exhibit that will open in April 2020, you must submit a project proposal by September 30th, 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.

To learn more about this opportunity visit the 2019 Senior Exhibit Project "The Courtroom, The Couch and the Archive: Janet Malcolm's Journalism" curated by Eve Sneider on view through October 6th in the Wall Street Exhibition Corridor. Send questions to Kerri.Sancomb@yale.edu.

Student Research at Yale University Library (October – April) Watch in January 2020 for proposal details & deadlines 

  • Two students will be selected to curate two exhibit cases each, based on a completed paper or research project, using facsimiles from YUL collections. The next Student Research exhibit curators will be selected in February of 2020, exhibit will open in October 2020. 
  • Open to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.
  • If you are considering submissting a proposal:

To learn more about this opportunity, visit the past exhibit Web page. Send questions to Kerri.Sancomb@yale.edu.

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. View exhibit text guidelines here.

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

Please note: The Memorabilia Room is scheduled through the end of 2020. If you are interesting in proposing an exhibit for 2021 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.