Programs for the Public | Newberry

Programs for the Public

The Newberry organizes and hosts programs illuminating topics in the humanities, through a variety of formats tailored to the subject at hand: lectures, staged readings, music and dance performances, panel discussions, workshops, and more. Some events are part of ongoing series, such as Conversations at the Newberry, Meet the Author talks, Programs for Genealogists, the weekly Newberry Colloquium, and exhibition-related programming; others are signature annual events, such as the Newberry Book Fair and the Bughouse Square Debates. Additional public programming may be sponsored by the Newberry’s Research Centers.

Most Newberry public programs are free. Seating is limited and registration in advance is required for many events; see the individual listings for details.

Many of our programs are recorded, and you can listen to them on our website.

Upcoming Public Programs

Friday, September 20, 2019Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Exhibitions
Often called “the Heartland” or “flyover country,” the Midwest tends to be characterized as a homogeneous, barren space between the American coasts. This exhibition challenges the assumptions, stereotypes, and persistent narratives about the Midwest, exploring the confluence of peoples and environmental conditions that has defined the region and made it unique.
Saturday, December 7, 2019
Programs for Genealogists
The Genealogy and Local History staff will introduce visitors to the Newberry and explain how to use its collections at an informal orientation. Aimed at researchers new to the library and/or new to genealogical research, this session will last approximately an hour followed by a short tour of the library.
Saturday, December 7, 2019
Center for American Indian Studies Programs
First Nations Film and Video Festival
Free and open to all. Reserve your free tickets now.
In this engrossing and suspenseful feature film debut by filmmaker Andrew Okpeaha MacLean, two teenage boys who have grown up like brothers go about their lives in the comfortable claustrophobia of an isolated Alaskan town.
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Chicago's Architectural History in Print
Free and open to all. Reserve your free tickets now.
Join Chicago architecture aficionados Kim Coventry, John Ronan, and Pauline Saliga, and David Van Zanten to discuss the significant architecture and urban design projects profiled in Chicago by the Book:101 Publications that Shaped the City and Its Image.
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Newberry Colloquium
A Newberry Colloquium
In 1804, the Spanish introduced the world’s first smallpox vaccine to its empire, along with orders that vaccination—as a gift of both God and King—be voluntary. Yet the vaccine was incubated and conserved for the public through the dispossessed bodies of enslaved, orphaned, and indigenous peoples.
Thursday, December 12, 2019
The Friends of the Parks Walter Netsch Lecture / Co-Sponsored by the Newberry Library
Architect Richard Wilson, city planner with Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, will discuss including public parks in Chicago’s newest mega developments.
Saturday, December 14, 2019
A theatrical reading by the Shakespeare Project of Chicago
Free and open to all. Reserve your free tickets now.
Join us for a special holiday-themed morning, with traditional carols, a special holiday performance, and free hot chocolate and treats.
Thursday, December 19, 2019
Center for the History of Cartography Programs
The Chicago Map Society's December Meeting
We hope that you will join us for our annual Holiday Gala, which will feature an especially full smorgasbord of holiday treats for your dining and drinking pleasure. We will continue our tradition of pairing this party with our “Members’ Night,” which allows our members to showcase a special item in their personal collections.
Saturday, January 4, 2020
Center for American Indian Studies Programs
First Nations Film and Video Festival
Free and open to all. Reserve your free tickets now.
Join us as the First Nations Film and Video Festival kicks off the new year with a screening of Rhymes for Young Ghouls, a feature-length drama directed by Jeff Barnaby.
Saturday, January 4, 2020
Programs for Genealogists
Free and open to all. No ticket required.
Want to branch out and fill in your family tree? Eager to take your genealogical research to the next level? In this free, hour-long orientation, Newberry staff will introduce you to the Newberry and the huge selection of genealogical resources we offer. Aimed at researchers new to the Newberry and its genealogical collections, this session will be followed by a short tour of the library.
Saturday, January 11, 2020
Center for Renaissance Studies Programs
Shakespeare Project of Chicago
Free and open to all. Reserve your free tickets now.
A story of greed, ambition, and ruthlessness, Shakespeare’s Richard III tells the story of its eponymous antihero’s rise and fall from power.
Thursday, January 16, 2020
Center for the History of Cartography Programs
The Chicago Map Society's January Meeting
Take a trip around the planet to discover the cultural and historical backstories behind some of the most unusual international and interstate borders on the map!
Saturday, January 18, 2020
Free and open to all. No ticket required.
Interested in exploring the Newberry’s vast collection of rare books, maps, manuscripts, and primary sources but not sure where to start? Then this session is for you. In an informal orientation, Newberry librarians will introduce you to the Newberry and break down how to use our collection.
Friday, January 24, 2020Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Exhibitions
Jun Fujita: American Visionary, copresented by the Newberry Library and the Poetry Foundation, focuses on the extraordinary accomplishments of poet and photojournalist Jun Fujita.
Wednesday, January 29, 2020
Discussion and Performance with Chicago Opera Theater
Free and open to all. Reserve your free tickets now.
When the Congress of Racial Equality comes to New Orleans in the sweltering summer of 1961, Sylvie Davenport is torn. Handed a pamphlet and asked to board a Greyhound bus, Sylvie is forced to choose between her academic future and the future of the nation.
Saturday, February 1, 2020
Center for American Indian Studies Programs
First Nations Film and Video Festival
Free and open to all. Reserve your free ticket starting Jan. 2.
In the year’s second installment of the First Nations Film and Video Festival, we feature two films: The Peoples’ Protectors and Healing Voices.
Saturday, February 1, 2020
Programs for Genealogists
Free and open to all. No ticket required.
Want to branch out and fill in your family tree? Eager to take your genealogical research to the next level? In this free, hour-long orientation, Newberry staff will introduce you to the Newberry and the huge selection of genealogical resources we offer. Aimed at researchers new to the library and its genealogical collections, this session will be followed by a short tour of the library.
Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Exhibitions
Curator Talk with Katherine Litwin, Fred Sasaki, and Graham Lee
Free and open to all. Reserve your free ticket starting Jan. 2.
In this curator talk, Katherine Litwin, Fred Sasaki, and Graham Lee will give visitors a behind-the-scenes overview of the development of our winter exhibition, Jun Fujita: American Visionary.
Thursday, February 6, 2020
Meet the Author
Meet the Author: Jeremy Popkin
Free and open to all. Reserve your free ticket starting Jan. 2.
In his new book A New World Begins, Jeremy Popkin puts the reader in the thick of the French Revolution.
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Exhibitions
Speakers: Takako Day, Graham Lee, and Ryan Yakota
Free and open to all. Reserve your free ticket starting Jan. 2.
This Valentine’s Day-themed program is devoted to the lives and love of early 20th-century poet and photojournalist Jun Fujita and the journalist Florence Carr and their struggles against the racist marital norms, miscegenation laws, and xenophobia that complicated their relationship.
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Part I: We Shall Not Be Missed!
Free and open to all. Reserve your free ticket starting Jan. 2.
Jonathan Lear of the University of Chicago delivers the first of three lectures on how our fears of catastrophe—from climate crisis to political collapse—shape the ways we imagine the ends and purposes of human life.
Saturday, February 22, 2020
Center for Renaissance Studies Programs
Shakespeare Project of Chicago
Free and open to all. Reserve your free ticket starting Jan. 2.
Shakespeare’s drama of feuding families and star-crossed lovers established the template for romantic tragedy.
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Carrie Hanson, Daniel J. Vimont, and The Seldoms
Free and open to all. Reserve your free ticket starting Jan. 2.
Join us for a staging of FLOE, a multimedia performance addressing climate instability produced by the dance company The Seldoms. The performance will occur alongside a talk by climate scientist Daniel Vimont about the effects of climate change in the Midwest.
Saturday, March 7, 2020
A Roundtable Discussion
Free and open to all. Reserve your free ticket starting Feb. 3.
These days, “Midwestern cuisine” is likely to evoke brats, gelatin-based salads, hot-dish casseroles, and perhaps a few regional specialties like deep dish pizza or deep-fried cheese curds. But the region’s culinary history is far more complex than these stereotypes suggest.
Saturday, March 7, 2020
Center for American Indian Studies Programs
First Nations Film and Video Festival
Free and open to all. Reserve your free ticket starting Feb. 3.
In the third installment of the First Nations Film and Video Festival, we feature a screening of Sydney Freeland’s coming-of-age drama Drunktown’s Finest (2014). On the Navajo reservation in New Mexico, three young people—a college-bound, devout Christian; a rebellious and angry father-to-be; and a promiscuous and gorgeous trans person—search for love and acceptance.
Saturday, March 7, 2020
Programs for Genealogists
Free and open to all. No tickets required.
Want to branch out and fill in your family tree? Eager to take your genealogical research to the next level? In this free, hour-long orientation, Newberry staff will introduce you to the Newberry and the huge selection of genealogical resources we offer. Aimed at researchers new to the library and its genealogical collections, this session will be followed by a short tour of the library.
Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Exhibitions
Free and open to all. Reserve your free ticket starting Feb. 3.
In this program, director, documentary photographer, and cinematographer Carlos Javier Ortiz will reflect on the legacy of Jun Fujita’s Chicago photos.
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Part II: Good Mourning in Gettysburg and Hollywood
Free and open to all. Reserve your free ticket starting Feb. 3.
Jonathan Lear of the University of Chicago delivers the second of three lectures on how our fears of catastrophe—from climate crisis to political collapse—shape the ways we imagine the ends and purposes of human life.
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Programs for Genealogists
Free and open to all. Reserve your free ticket starting Feb. 3.
Join experts from the Ulster Historical Foundation as they describe the ins and outs of genealogical research focused on the Emerald Isle.
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Center for the History of Cartography Programs
The Chicago Map Society's March Meeting
George Ritzlin, a founding member of the Chicago Map Society, will return with the second half of his two-part presentation on map collecting. In his first presentation, George explained how to determine the authenticity of an antique map and explored the process of paper production, printing, coloring and atlas assembly.
Friday, March 20, 2020
Meet the Author
Meet the Author: Louise Erdrich
Free and open to all. Reserve your free ticket starting Feb. 3.
Join the National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe) as she discusses her latest book, The Night Watchman.
Saturday, March 21, 2020
Free and open to all. No ticket required.
Interested in exploring the Newberry’s vast collection of rare books, maps, manuscripts, and primary sources but not sure where to start? Then this session is for you. In an informal orientation, Newberry librarians will introduce you to the Newberry and break down how to use our collection.
Thursday, March 26, 2020
Bill Moran and Jim Moran of the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum
Free and open to all. Reserve your free ticket starting Feb. 3.
Since its founding in 2000, Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum has been a national center for print and type history. In this talk, the museum’s directors, Bill and Jim Moran, will discuss the museum’s historical and contemporary role in fostering type design and production in the Midwest.
Saturday, March 28, 2020
Bill Moran and Jim Moran of the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum
Free and open to all. Reserve your free ticket starting Feb. 3.
In this hands-on printing workshop, we’ll use wood type from the permanent collection of the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum to produce A-Z specimen sheets you can customize with brayers, stencils, and your imagination. No printing experience is necessary. We’ll provide aprons, but be sure to wear comfortable clothes that you don’t mind getting ink on!
Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Part III: And the Pursuit of Happiness
Free and open to all. Reserve your free ticket starting Mar. 2.
Jonathan Lear of the University of Chicago delivers the last of three lectures on how our fears of catastrophe—from climate crisis to political collapse—shape the ways we imagine the ends and purposes of human life.
Thursday, April 16, 2020
Center for Renaissance Studies Programs
The Chicago Map Society's April Meeting
Please join us for a special joint presentation between the Chicago Map Society and The Center for Renaissance Studies at the Newberry. The Newberry Library owns a copy of the 1550 edition of Sebastian Münster’s Cosmographia. This book is a groundbreaking description of the world that was published in Basel from 1544 to 1628 by Münster’s stepson Heinrich Petri and his sons.
Saturday, April 18, 2020Friday, July 3, 2020
Exhibitions
During a time of globalization, colonization, and warfare, Europeans in the Renaissance embraced new technology even as they lamented its destabilizing consequences.
Thursday, May 21, 2020
Center for the History of Cartography Programs
The Chicago Map Society's May Meeting
The Midwest is a region that’s difficult to define, especially to those that reside outside of America’s heartland. What states are included? Does the idea of the Midwest change over time? What does it mean to be Midwestern? Fellow CMS member Amanda Murphyao explores possible definitions of the region in her presentation on carto-caricatures of the Midwest.
Thursday, June 18, 2020
Center for the History of Cartography Programs
The Chicago Map Society's June Meeting
In June, we will take our annual field trip to the MacLean Collection in Lake Forest, Illinois. The MacLean Collection is one of the premier map destinations in the United States, with close to 40,000 individual items, and we’re grateful for their generosity in sharing their collection.