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Founders Memorial Library Exhibits

Burmese map
"A Burmese map of the world, showing traces of Medieval European map-making."
From R. C. Temple, Thirty-seven nats, a phase of spirit-worship prevailing in Burma, London, 1909.
(located in Rare Books and Special Collections)

May - June 2017

Main Exhibit. Manic Mundi: Maps of Exploration and Imagination

In Moby Dick, Herman Melville describes the harpooner Queequeg as an inhabitant of a land that "It is not down in any map; true places never are.”

Repositories of exploration, investigation, and computation, as well as fabulation, maps, charts, and globes attempt to make real a world that exists just beyond (and sometimes far beyond) the bounds of an individual’s perception; in essence, they help people to move from “You are Here” to “You Can Be There.” And while cartographers across time have endeavored to diagram methodically and accurately, maps are cultural objects that reflect the ideologies, biases, and esthetic standards of the time and location in which they were created. Manic Mundi: Maps of Exploration and Imagination highlights the ways that maps can fashion myriad images of the world—whether that world is Winnie-the-Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood, Nicholas Sanson’s 1656 depiction of California as an Island, or “A Burmese map of the world, showing traces of Medieval European map-making."

Contact person: Dee Anna Phares,, (815) 753-0343 

Regional History Center Exhibit – Fourth Floor

Reading Room cases: “Eugene V. Debs: Unionist, Socialist, and Activist”

An exhibit celebrating the life and activism of Eugene V. Debs, who was the country’s leading socialist and labor organizer, and four-time candidate for President by 1918. Debs rose to national prominence in 1894 by leading striking railroad workers in the Pullman Strike in Chicago which affected more than 250,000 workers in 27 states and most railroad routes west of Detroit. In 1918, Debs was arrested and convicted to ten years in prison for speaking against the Wilson administration and U.S. involvement in World War I. At his sentencing hearing, Debs addressed the court in his own defense in a speech that instantly became a classic.

Rare Books and Special Collections Exhibit – Fourth Floor

“Sharp Words: Satire and Ridicule in the Stacks of Rare Books and Special Collections”

Inspired by the NIU Art Museum’s Hand in Hand exhibit, Rare Books and Special Collections is displaying items that exhibit satire, ridicule, irony, and caricatures.

Contact person: Angie Schroeder,, (815) 753-9838

Southeast Asia Collection Exhibit – Fourth Floor

“Southeast Asian Sports and Recreation”

The new exhibit in the Southeast Asian collection is all about sports.  It features materials on sports such as, soccer (football), boxing, badminton, table tennis and muay thai, as well as some lesser known, more traditionally Southeast Asian sports like sepak takaw, petanque, netball and futsal.  The exhibit was curated by Southeast Asia collection student worker Ben Thomas.

Contact person: Joanna Kulma,, (815) 753-1819

Contact Us

Chalermsee Olson, Interim Dean

Phone: (815) 753-1995


Founders Memorial Library
Northern Illinois University
217 Normal Rd
DeKalb, IL 60115-2828

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