Here’s What You Need To Know About The State Library’s Exclusive Exhibition For Bookworms

By Sophie Hodges
17th Oct 2018


Specky Magee, Goosebumps, The Very Hungry Caterpillar...just a few of literature's great pieces. And hey, if your knowledge of great writing needs some work (like mine), listen up. 

State Library's free World of the Book exhibition reopened on the weekend, and they’ve got more than 300 new items on display, including some never-before-exhibited material.

This one explores the history of writing, books and book design, with items dating from 2050 BC to the present day. You'll find it in the Library’s famous Dome Galleries (just head up the stairs) 

Curated by Dr Anna Welch, State's Rare Books Historian, the exhibition showcases some of the super rare and historically significant books held inside the Library’s mammoth collection. Fun fact: that collection holds more than five million books.
“Our collection spans thousands of years, from one of the world’s first written texts to the digital present, and tells us so much about human history,” says Dr Welch. 

According to Dr Welch, here’s what you can expect: “Some of the new items on display are recent donations and acquisitions, and we’re thrilled to be able to showcase these precious items to visitors for the first time. Highlights in this year’s exhibition include a display exploring the medieval art of dying, a rare South-east Asian manuscript, and surveys of writing and design by trailblazing women.”

Now, if you want to get deep in the details, keep reading. The exhibition has some pretty sweet highlights;

  • The Medieval Art of Dying display includes an illuminated prayer book from c. 1430 and key printed works from the 16th and 17th-centuries, exploring Christian rituals surrounding death. 
  • A South-east Asian manuscript from the Library’s internationally significant Michael Abbott Collection of South-east Asian texts, being exhibited for the very first time.
  • Books by women that have changed the world, including Dr Marie Stopes’ book ‘Contraception (Birth Control): Its Theory, History and Practice’, which was placed in the Library’s restricted section shortly after it was added to the collection in 1923.
  • A Picnic at Hanging Rock display, including never-before-exhibited scripts and props from the iconic film version (1972) as well as Joan Lindsay’s manuscripts and a first edition of the book.
  • An Australian book design display, with the work of three internationally renowned Australian designers: Jenny Grigg, Miriam Rosenbloom and Sandy Cull. This one also looks at the history of the iconic Melbourne publishing house, Sun Books.
  • A display of concrete poetry features sculptural and printed works by Australian poets which use layout, typography and 3D forms to enhance the meaning of written words.

Get moving, bookworms. This one's only hanging around till December 2018. 

The Details

Where: State Library Victoria (the Dome Galleries)
When: 13 October – 31 December 
For more info, click here

Have you checked out Juddy Roller's latest project? It's only the biggest mural in the Southern Hemisphere. No biggie. 

Image credit: Visit Victoria

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