Event—Public Programming

Open House Chicago 2018: The Newberry Library

This year marks the 125th anniversary of the Newberry Library's move to 60 West Walton Street, to the neo-Romanesque building designed by Henry Ives Cobb. We have just completed a transformation of the first floor to expand our community of learning and multiply the public's opportunities for interacting with collections and staff, just steps after entering the Newberry.

New areas include a welcome center where visitors can learn about the Newberry and register as readers; an expanded bookshop and adjoining visitor lounge with coffee and free wifi; a climate-controlled seminar room allowing classes and other groups to handle items from our collection; and a permanent exhibition, From the Stacks.

During the Newberry's participation in the Chicago Architecture Center's Open House Chicago, join us for docent-led behind-the-scenes glimpses of a world-class independent research library.

Participants may also visit the library's free exhibitions on their own: From the Stacks, showcasing maps, manuscripts, books, music, and postcards from the library's collection, and the temporary thematic show Pictures from an Exposition: Visualizing the 1893 World's Fair, running through December 31, 2018.

Each year the Chicago Architecture Center partners with Access Contemporary Music to commission a bespoke composition for selected Open House Chicago sites. This year, composer David A. Jaffe has written a piece for the Newberry, "Antiphon," which will be performed at the library several times between 1 and 4 pm on Saturday, during Open House Chicago. The musicians will be positioned on different levels of the central staircase. This is the composer's description of the piece:

"'Antiphon' calls across time, across cultures, across the plains and mountains of the American West. Commissioned by Access Contemporary Music for Open House Chicago, the work was inspired by the Newberry Library: its architecture as well as its core collection focusing on exploration and the early history of the West. As the two musicians signal and reach out to one another, listen for melodies that trace the Romanesque arches and extending horizontals. Perhaps you can even imagine echoes of horses, trumpets, drums, cowboy yodeling, and the lonely cry from the edge of the wilderness."


8 to 5, Hanson Gallery

  • From the Stacks, permanent exhibition about the Newberry collection

8 to 5, Trienens Galleries

  • Pictures from an Exposition: Visualizing the 1893 World’s Fair

9 to 4:45, Meet by the Staircase

  • Open House Chicago Building Mini-Tours - 15 minutes each

9:30 to 1, Baskes Boardroom, Presentations of Rare Collection Materials

  • 9:30 Charles Dickens Artifacts
  • 10 Medieval Book of Hours, 1455
  • 10:30 Illustrated Book Bindings, 1857 through 1928
  • 11 Renaissance Secret Ledger Book, 1339 through 1360
  • 11:30 Medieval Block-Printed Apocalypse (Dragons!), 1470
  • 12 Map: British and French Dominions in America, 1755
  • 12:30 First Edition of James Joyce, Ulysses, 1922

10 to 11, Ruggles Hall

  • Second Saturday Children's Program: "All the World Is Here," with the Lucky Trikes Storytelling Chamber Band

1 to 4, Central Staircase

  • Musical Performance of “Antiphon,” by David A. Jaffe, Commissioned for the Newberry

2 to 3:30, Baskes Boardroom, Presentation of Rare Collection Materials

  • Open Archives Chicago: 200+ Years of History: Illinois Leading Up to 1818