For more than 125 years, The New York Public Library has collected, preserved, and made accessible the world’s knowledge. Now, for the first time, the Polonsky Exhibition of The New York Public Library’s Treasures showcases some of the most extraordinary items from the 56 million in our collections, inspiring and empowering visitors to discover, learn, and create new knowledge—today and in the years ahead.
The treasures in this exhibition tell the stories of people, places, and moments spanning 4,000 years—from the emergence of the written word through to the present day. Visitors will encounter manuscripts, artworks, letters, still and moving images, recordings, and more that bring vividly to life voices of the past. While the Library’s collections have always been available for public use, the Polonsky Exhibition builds on our 125-year legacy by offering a unique opportunity to make new connections and expand our understanding of the world and each other—so that together we can shape a better future.
For exhibition hours, see Stephen A. Schwarzman Building hours. Please be prepared for a short wait between lining up and entering the show, especially during busy times such as weekend afternoons.
Free 45-minute tours of the Polonsky Exhibition take place Monday to Saturday at 12:30 and 3:30 PM.
Celebrate Black History Month by exploring an array of items in the Polonsky Exhibition showcasing the artistic, literary, musical, and political accomplishments of the Black diaspora. With a new feature on Bloomberg Connects, take a deeper look at materials from the original Broadway production of The Wiz, photographs documenting the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and trans activist Zazu Nova, and much more.
(Zazu Nova photograph by Diana Davies.)
Treasures: Black History Month Activities for Kids
Explore the Polonsky Exhibition to solve a special treasure hunt, crossword puzzle, and word search! These bilingual family-friendly worksheets spotlight important Black artists and activists featured in the exhibition.
Delve into some of the Library's most remarkable holdings relating to author Mary Shelley and her gothic masterpiece, Frankenstein, with an all-new audio guide. Our host, the award-winning author and screenwriter Neil Gaiman, introduces a team of experts who shed light on key objects on view in The Fate of Frankenstein, a special display within the Polonsky Exhibition.
Dig deeper into the themes explored in the Polonsky Exhibition and discover more information about the wide array of objects on display, including the remarkable collections from which they are drawn.
Explore the full exhibition, accompanying audio guide, specialized tours, outgoing items, newest additions, and more about the Library on Bloomberg Connects, the free arts and culture app.
Explore la exhibición completa, la audioguía que la acompaña, los recorridos especializados, los tomos y materiales salientes, las adiciones más recientes y más sobre la Biblioteca en Bloomberg Connects, la aplicación gratuita de arte y cultura.
在免费的艺术和文化应用 Bloomberg Connects 上探索全部展览、随附的音频导览、特别导览、外出展品、新展品以及图书馆的更多精彩内容。
LIVE from NYPL
LIVE from NYPL, the Library’s premier cultural series, offers special events exploring the objects, ideas, and themes that animate the Polonsky Exhibition.
Plan Your Visit
The New York Public Library strives to ensure that everyone has access to the full range of information, services, and programs offered at the Library.
- Large print and braille label text as well as tactile objects related to the exhibition are available at the Visitor Center.
- ASL-interpreted, verbal description, and touch tours can be arranged with two weeks’ advance notice. Contact email@example.com.
- Sensory-friendly family days (soft rest areas, limited background noise, activities with educators) are available every three months.
- Benches are located throughout the exhibition for visitors to use.
- We welcome all wheelchairs and mobility devices.
To request an accommodation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the accessibility of NYPL websites and mobile applications, see our Web & Mobile Accessibility Policy.
- Victor Chu, Director—Sky Tech One
- Justin Namon, FPV Drone Pilot
- Rob McEnaney, FPV Drone Technician
Discover highlights of the Polonsky Exhibition with the free Treasures Audio Guide, accessible onsite or from anywhere on mobile devices. Don’t forget your headphones! The audio guide in English is hosted by actress, playwright, and Library Lion Anna Deavere Smith.
All audio guides can be accessed via your mobile device. Visitors on site are welcome to connect to our free Wi-Fi service (“AudioGuide_Treasures”) in Gottesman Hall.
The Treasures Audio Guide with verbal descriptions contains full image descriptions of every item on the audio tour, followed by interpretive commentary hosted by actress, playwright, and Library Lion Anna Deavere Smith. A complete transcription of every stop is also included in the guide.
Descubra los aspectos más destacados de la exhibición Polonsky con la audioguía gratuita Treasures, a la que podrá acceder in situ o desde cualquier lugar a través de dispositivos móviles. ¡No olvide sus auriculares! La audioguía en español es presentada por el novelista, periodista y productor de radio Daniel Alarcón.
The Polonsky Exhibition offers unparalleled opportunities for teachers and students to engage with the Library's world renowned research collections—from class visits to educator workshops, teaching tools for your classroom, and more.
Free 45-minute tours of the Polonsky Exhibition will take place Monday to Saturday at 12:30 and 3:30 PM. Please note:
- Tours are limited to the first 15 people who sign up.
- Registration will be available at the exhibition entrance, where the tour convenes, 15 minutes prior to the start of the tour.
In the Spotlight: Exhibition Highlights
Listen to expert Library staff discuss some of the extraordinary items in the Polonsky Exhibition and the collections that house them in our new video series.
Celebrate the Library’s vast collections with a variety of books and gifts inspired by the Polonsky Exhibition. All purchases help support the important work of the Library.
This beautifully illustrated companion volume showcases the breadth and depth of the Library’s collections, and gives visitors from around the world an opportunity to take home and enjoy these extraordinary items for years to come.
With our expansive historic collections, expert librarians, and a variety of fellowships and learning opportunities available, The New York Public Library is an invaluable resource for writers, scholars, students, and creators worldwide.
The New York Public Library’s flagship location, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is renowned for its extraordinary historical collections and its commitment to providing free and equal access to its resources.
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem is a world-leading cultural institution devoted to the research, preservation, and exhibition of materials focused on African American, African Diaspora, and African experiences.
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts houses one of the world's most extensive research collections in the fields of theater, film, dance, music, and recorded sound, as well as a wide array of circulating and reference materials.
Sign up for a library card for free online today! Access everything the Library has to offer, from free one-on-one online tutoring to e-books, with your library card.
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Our collections, programs, and resources are made freely available to New Yorkers thanks to contributions from supporters like you. Become a member today and enjoy exclusive benefits, including special access to the Polonsky Exhibition, behind-the-scenes access to our collections, and more.
For any questions about visiting the Polonsky Exhibition, please call 917-ASK-NYPL (917-275-6975) or email us: email@example.com.
Please note that due to limited space, strollers are not permitted in the exhibition. Please inquire with staff on site about solutions for storing your stroller or with any additional concerns. This does not apply to mobility aids used by people with disabilities.
Select photography by Robert Kato.