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Curious Objects

Monday-Friday 09.00-18.00, Saturday 09.00-16.30
3 November 2016-21 March 2017
Milstein Exhibition Centre, Cambridge University Library


From 'ectoplasm' to beard hair sent to Charles Darwin, our second 600th anniversary exhibition, Curious Objects, tells the story of Cambridge University Library through its more unusual and unexpected items. See the exhibition in person, or visit the Curious Objects virtual exhibition or collection on the Cambridge Digital Library.

Saturday, 25 March, 2017 at 10.00-12.00
Entrance Hall

This behind the scenes event at Cambridge University Library will offer an intimate insight into the preservation and dissemination the Royal Commonwealth Society’s WWII Archive of the Changi and Sime Road Civilian Internment Camps in Singapore.

In the first half of the event Archivist John Cardwell, Book and Paper Conservator Emma Nichols and Head of the Digital Content Unit Maciej Pawlikowski will share the history of this unique and important archive and how through conservation and digitisation they are not only preserving it for future generations but also sharing it with a global audience. The second half of the event will comprise visits to the Map Department.

Bookings open 10.30am on Monday 20 February. Email to book your place.

View the full Cambridge Science Festival programme.

Dr Anne Toner
Monday, 27 March, 2017 at 17:30 - 18:50
North Reading Room

Dr Anne Toner discusses Austen's life and work through Austen material held in Cambridge collections. Also to mark the bicentenary of Austen's death, an Austen exhibition will be on display in the Entrance Hall 27 March - 8 April.

Public event hosted by the Friends. Friends £1 / Non-Friends £2. Cash only. North Reading Room.


Professor Ian Gadd, Dr Freyja Cox Jensen and Scott Mandelbrote
Monday, 24 April, 2017 at 17:30-21:15
Stationers' Hall, Ave Maria Lane, London, EC4M 7DD

Organised by our very own Friends President, Dr Gordon Johnson, and with the Library as principal partner; the 2017 Stationers’ Company Archive Evening explores a period of change for printers and publishers in the late 17th century.

Join us for an evening out in London and enjoy a buffet and drinks; an exhibition featuring items from the University Library; and talks with Professor Ian Gadd, Dr Freyja Cox Jensen and Scott Mandelbrote.

Tickets £23/28. Book via Stationers’ Company:
Stationers' Hall, Ave Maria Lane, London, EC4M 7DD


Dr Ben Outhwaite
Thursday, 4 May, 2017 at 17:45 - 18:30
Milstein Seminar Room

This exhibition will be on show from April 2017, telling of the discovery of Genizah manuscripts 120 years ago, peering into the medieval society that emerges from their pages. From the discovery itself to the nitty, gritty of everyday life: amulets, a child's doodle, letters galore on subjects from ransoming a captive woman to what we might presume is the most modern of legal agreements - pre-nups!

Public event open to all. Hosted by the Friends. Friends £1 / Non-Friends £2. Cash only. Milstein Seminar Room.


Saturday, 3 June, 2017 at 11:00-12:00
Library Tower

Explore the changing face of fashion, from gowns to football shirts, the tower collection is home to a range of items detailing the latest styles and trends from 1800 onwards.

Exclusive Friends Event. Book via or 01223 765362.


Wednesday, 28 June, 2017 at 18:00-20:00
University Library

We'll have some special items on display, including those purchased with the help of the Friends over the last year, so join us in an impressive setting for drinks and nibbles, entertainment, exhibitions and excellent company!

Exclusive Friends Event. Friends £7 / Guests £8. Book via: or contact / 01223 765362, or send cash / cheque (made out to the University of Cambridge) to Friends, Cambridge University Library, West Road, CB3 9DR.