Special Exhibitions

In honor of the inauguration, the Harvard Art Museums and the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture will offer free admission on October 5. The following exhibitions in Harvard’s libraries and museums have been specially organized for the occasion. Please present your Harvard ID, inauguration credential, or installation ceremony ticket to enter these spaces.

Harvard University Archives

Whereas…The Harvard Charter of 1650 and Presidential Insignia
Friday, October 5, 4:30–6:00 p.m., Pusey Library, Harvard Yard
Visit the Harvard University Archives for an up-close look at the insignia presented to President Lawrence S. Bacow as part of today’s ceremony: the Harvard Charter of 1650, perhaps the most significant document in Harvard’s history; College Book 1, the oldest surviving record book with entries dating to the early 17th century; the Harvard seals of 1843 and 1885; and ceremonial keys made in 1846. The Charter of 1650—drafted by Harvard’s first president, Henry Dunster, and granted to the College by the General Court of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay—has been presented to incoming Harvard presidents as a symbol of office since at least 1708. The University continues to operate under the authority of the Charter of 1650. The presidential insignia are made available for public display only on rare occasions.

Widener Library

Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Room & Tours of Widener Library
Thursday, October 4, 3:00–5:00 p.m.
Harry Elkins Widener (1885–1912), Harvard Class of 1907, formed an extraordinary collection of books, manuscripts, and drawings during his short lifetime. Born into a wealthy Philadelphia family whose members collected everything from paintings and tapestries to silver and china, Widener began serious book collecting while an undergraduate at Harvard. His original library, collected prior to his death on the Titanic in 1912, consists of approximately 3,300 volumes housed in the Memorial Room of Widener Library. He expressed his philosophy of collecting, in a letter to New York bookseller Luther Livingston in May of 1910: “No matter how important a book or manuscript may be, I only want those which interest me.”

A Taste of Harvard Library—Highlights from Special Collections and Archives
Open during Widener Library hours
Explore and enjoy images of a curated selection of materials from Harvard Library’s extensive special collections and archives in this exhibit in the Widener Gallery. The colorful representations are an enticing taste of the panoply of primary sources from across the centuries that are available for students and scholars to discover and use.

Houghton Library

Presidential Inauguration Open House
Friday, October 5, noon–2:00 p.m.  
Visit Houghton Library, Harvard’s principal repository for rare book and manuscripts. See highlights from the library’s collection and gain an insight into how these treasures impact learning and research at Harvard and beyond. Take a behind-the-scenes tour of Houghton’s beautiful literary-themed rooms dedicated to Emily Dickinson, Amy Lowell, John Keats, and Samuel Johnson. Enjoy three exhibitions drawing from the world-renowned Harvard Theatre Collection: Treading the Borders: Immigration and the American Stage; Step Back: Seeing Ballet’s Future in the Past; and Stage Fright: Or the Fate of Frankenstein.