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.

Please note that the last entry to the Polonsky Exhibition is 30 minutes before the close of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. See building hours and plan your visit. Please be prepared for a short wait between lining up and entering the exhibition, 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.

Special Thanks:

  • Victor Chu, Director—Sky Tech One
  • Justin Namon, FPV Drone Pilot
  • Rob McEnaney, FPV Drone Technician

In the Spotlight: Exhibition Highlights

A black and white photograph of a Black man and woman. The man is in the foreground holding a saxophone in his lap with his right fist resting in front of his face. The woman is in the background in less clear focus
Portrait of John and Alice Coltrane by Chuck Stewart, 1966.
Close-up of the top half of a creased, handwritten page that reads: A Declaration of the Representatives of the United States of America in General Congress assembled.
Thomas Jefferson, fair copy of the Declaration of Independence, 1776, Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library.
A painted portrait of a white woman who sits slightly at an angle while looking over her right shoulder
Portrait of Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–1797), John Keenan (fl. 1791–1815), 1804, after ca. 1797 portrait by John Opie (1761–1807)
Photo of two bronze busts positioned on columns: one of a Black man, the other of a Black woman, both gazing off into the distance
Vénus africaine and Saïd Abdullah by Charles Henri Joseph Cordier, 1852
A sepia photograph of a young woman dressed in Indian garb. Her left hand rests on her hip and her right elbow rests atop a plush chair with a high back
Darogha Ubbas Alli, Juddan Dancing Girl from Beauties of Lucknow, Calcutta, 1874
An old yellowed piece of paper with light script running across the page
Bill of Rights, United States Congress (New York), 1789
Two cylinders sitting within a brown background. The cylinder on the left is solid brown, and the one on the right is slightly lighter and larger with the image of a man's face on it
Lionel Mapleson (1865–1937), Early opera recordings on wax cylinders, 1900–1904
Colorful poster of a woman in theatrical garb, with a cape and a sword in a hilt, set against an ornate background
Alphonse Mucha (1860–1939), Poster for the Thêàtre de Sarah Bernhardt production of Tragique Histoire d’Hamlet, Prince de Danemark - Sarah Bernhardt, 1899
Close-up of a large book opened to a page featuring two columns of decorated text and gothic type, with hand-written notes in the margins.
Johannes Gutenberg, Biblia Latina, 1455, Rare Books Division, The New York Public Library.
Detail of frontispiece of Shakespeare's portfolio showing an engraving of the author in 17th-century dress. Above it reads: Published according to the true original copies.
William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies. Published according to the True Originall Copies
London: Isaac Jaggard and Edward Blount, 1623
Original stuffed animals Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Kanga, Piglet, and Tigger.
Winnie-the-Pooh and Friends, ca. 1921


For any questions about visiting the Polonsky Exhibition, please call 917-ASK-NYPL (917-275-6975) or email us:

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.