Senate House Library has amassed numerous artefacts, to support teaching, to record the history of the University of London, to honour their original owners or simply as curiosities. Amongst the Library’s millions of printed volumes and archival papers, the ultimate significance of these objects is often unclear or contentious. An eclectic mass of hair samples, works of art, ancient writing, medals and coins leave the Library as a secular reliquary and a private museum as well as a centre of learning. This exhibition showcases some of the most remarkable objects and encourages viewers to reflect on their lasting meaning.
There are also a series of vintage display cases scattered throughout the Library, exploring the history of the Library’s services and collections through physical artefacts which have been carefully preserved, from marketing bookmarks to ashtrays and a crowbar. These cases are intended to be discovered casually, but there is also a map available.