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Preserving a Masterpiece: From Soaring Ceilings to Subterranean Storage

Celebrate the legacy of The New York Public Library’s iconic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street with our new exhibition, Preserving a Masterpiece: From Soaring Ceilings to Subterranean Storage. Known as the People’s Palace, this library is a monumental oasis for New Yorkers who need a quiet place to read, a well of information for scholars, and a must-see destination for visitors from all around the world.

Featuring over 75 photos—many never before seen—the exhibition is an ode to what the timeless 42nd Street building means to its visitors, and to the essential ongoing work required to preserve, protect, and make accessible the legacies that reside there. It documents the building’s history and ongoing preservation efforts, such as the current restoration of the Rose Main Reading Room and the expansion of underground collections facilities beneath Bryant Park. The exhibition also includes historic photos from the construction of the building and its early years, as well as two decorative plaster rosettes from the Rose Main Reading Room ceiling. Preserving a Masterpiece allows visitors to peer into the past to discover the building’s beginnings, while exploring some of the many chapters it has witnessed through time.  

June 17th, 2016 - October 9th, 2016 Stephen A. Schwarzman Building


Support for The New York Public Library’s Exhibitions Program has been provided by Celeste Bartos, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos and Adam Bartos Exhibitions Fund, Jonathan Altman, and the continuing generosity of Miriam and Ira D. Wallach.