Inside The New York Public Library’s Newest Exhibit

The new free exhibit showcases some of the most rare artifacts in the library system's collection.

Home to some of the world’s most beloved literary gems, The New York Public Library is one of the largest library systems in the world, with 92 New York library locations. Since its founding in 1895, the library has amassed over 56 million rare items. Tours of the iconic branch at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, are free as are tours of the famous Rose Main Reading Room. Visitors can sign up for tours of the building in Astor Hall, and the Rose Main Reading Room in McGraw Rotunda. 

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building of The New York Public Library | WhereTraveler
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (Courtesy The New York Public Library)

Inside The New York Public Library’s Newest Exhibit

“The Polonsky Exhibition of The New York Public Library’s Treasures”

“The Polonsky Exhibition of The New York Public Library’s Treasures” opened on September 24 and showcases stunning artifacts from the library’s collection. The brand new exhibit features rare items throughout 4000 years of history including Thomas Jefferson’s handwritten, personal copy of the Declaration of Independence (complete with his own edits), the stuffed toys belonging to A.A. Milne’s son, Christopher Robin, that inspired “Winnie the Pooh,” and Charles Dickens’ own copy of “A Christmas Carol.”

“To move forward and make real and essential progress as a society, we need to understand what came before us. We need to learn the stories that have contributed to our collective story, the awe-inspiring, the heartbreaking, the infuriating, the spectacular, and the simple,” president of The New York Public Library, Anthony W. Marx said. 

Winnie & Friends New York | WhereTraveler
Winnie & Friends (©Robert Kato)

Inside the New Exhibit

Made possible with a $12 million gift from Dr. Leonard Polonsky, the exhibition is free to the public. “The New York Public Library is an iconic institution with a trove of buried treasures,” Dr. Leonard Polonsky CBE said. “I’m delighted to help bring them to the surface so that the public can forever share in them. It has always been my purpose to democratize knowledge and provide the public with access to rare documents and artifacts. The treasures rotating through this exhibition represent some of the most important roots of our culture and civilization.”

The exhibit currently features nine sections (Beginnings, Performance, Explorations, Fortitude, The Written Word, The Visual World, Childhood, Belief, and New York City) and while some artifacts will remain permanently, others will rotate at intervals. Tickets to “The Polonsky Exhibition of The New York Public Library’s Treasures” are free but entry is timed. Reserve your free timed-entry tickets online at nypl.org/treasures.

Exhibition Artifact Conservation New York | WhereTraveler
Exhibition Artifact Conservation (Courtesy The New York Public Library)