For more than 125 years, The New York Public Library has collected, preserved, and made accessible the world’s knowledge. The Polonsky Exhibition of The New York Public Library’s Treasures showcases for the first time some of its most extraordinary items in a permanent exhibition open to the public free of charge.
Curated from the Library’s extensive collections of manuscripts, artworks, letters, still and moving images, recordings, and much more, the Polonsky Exhibition tells the stories of people, places, and moments spanning 4,000 years—from the emergence of the written word through to the present day.
While some iconic objects will remain on long-term display, the Exhibition will evolve over time, with section themes and individual items within those sections rotating. Its initial iteration (which opened in September 2021) includes:
- Thomas Jefferson’s handwritten copy of the Declaration of Independence;
- The Gutenberg Bible (printed in 1455);
- Charles Dickens’s writing desk and his personal copy of A Christmas Carol (with his handwritten notes for public readings); and
- The stuffed animals that belonged to the real-life Christopher Robin and inspired the Winnie-the-Pooh stories.
The Polonsky Exhibition invites visitors to discover, learn, and to be inspired by the voices of the past and creates a space for a greater understanding of our world to shape a better future. An online version of the Polonsky Exhibition and audio guide are freely available to audiences worldwide.
Cultural heritage and digitisation
We support major libraries and museums in digitising and displaying the riches of their collections, to make them available to researchers and the wider public in innovative and attractive ways.
Humanities education and research
We support research in the humanities at significant academic institutions, educational initiatives to inspire young people about the humanities, and the broadening of educational opportunity.
Excellence and innovation in the arts
We support artistic heritage, the development of new creative work and the nurturing of young performers.