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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.

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


Raymond Scheindlin, Professor of Medieval Hebrew Literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America
Tuesday, 2 May, 2017 at 18.30-19.30
Franks & Steel Room, Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, Bloomsbury, London NW1 2BE

A lecture in London given by Raymond Scheindlin, Professor of Medieval Hebrew Literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

Solomon Ibn Gabirol, one of the greatest poets of the medieval golden age of Hebrew poetry, left a record of ecstatic spiritual experience in his religious verse and of a troubled, combative personality in his secular verse.  In this lecture, we will explore both of these facets of his work and show how they emerged from a single, singular vision. Along the way, we will speak of the genizah’s contribution to the reconstruction of his poetry.

Free event. A selection of wine and soft drinks will be served.

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.


Wednesday, 10 May, 2017 at 19.30-21.00
Milstein Seminar Rooms

Documentary film, From Cairo to the Cloud - The World of the Cairo Geniza, tells the remarkable story of the Cairo Geniza, a vast treasure trove of manuscripts discovered in the “geniza,” or sacred storeroom, of an ancient synagogue in Old Cairo. The Geniza documents are a window into a vanished civilization, illuminating over a thousand years of Jewish, Christian, and Moslem life in the heart of the Islamic world.

A selection of beverages will be available for purchase before the film.

Free event, no booking required – seats will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Richard Berengarten and Geneviève Guetemme
Thursday, 11 May, 2017 at 17.30-18.30
Milstein Seminar Rooms

Richard Berengarten will give a talk and reading to mark the launch of Changing, his latest publication from Shearsman Books.

Changing is Berengarten’s poetic homage to the I Ching, also known as the Yijing or the Chinese Book of Changes. The event will integrate a sequence of eight collaborative drawings by artist Geneviève Guetemme, also based on the I Ching, entitled Changes - échanges.

Refreshments from 5pm, talk starts at 5.30pm. Admission free, no advance booking required. For further information e-mail



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.