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Behind the Scenes of an NYPL Exhibition

There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes of each exhibition project at The New York Public Library. The NYPL organizes several beautiful exhibitions throughout the year and the Registrar's Office is involved in all the exhibitions that happen in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street.

Exhibition projects involve many different departments and different professionals: curators, registrars, exhibition managers, designers, communications staff, preparators, conservators, security and facility staff. It is a real team effort to put together and to maintain an exhibition opened to the public.

The "checklist," a complete list of the objects to be included in the exhibition, is in general the starting point for the Registrar's Office for working on an exhibition project. Once a checklist is finalized the Registrar's Office is responsible for collecting the works from the different NYPL divisions and bringing them to our climate-controlled office where the objects will be available for examination by curatorial, conservation and exhibition staff as needed. 

Since the Library has such an amazing collection most of our exhibitions mainly use works from our holdings, but sometimes we also borrow from other institutions and from private collectors. It is the Registrar's Office's responsibility to manage the loan process, making sure that all the lender's requirements are met and that works are shipped according to fine arts shipping best practices. There are companies in the US and abroad that specialize in the transport of artwork and we only use the most reputable vendors.

Our most recent project is the Play Things exhibition which will open on November 22. We will be very busy this week installing this exhibition and we hope you will enjoy it! Do come visit us.


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