Founders Memorial Library Exhibits

October 2019

London Daily News, 1853

Main Exhibit: "Through One Darksome Portal": The Ghastly, the Ghostly, and the Gothic

As your bare foot touches each moss-slick granite step leading from the altar of the long-ruined abbey to the crypts beneath, you hear furious and shallow breathing and the frenetic ker-thump, ker-thumo, ker-thump of a heartbeat. Is it your own? Is it someone else’s? Something else’s? As you reach solid ground—your toes sinking into the fetid soil which reeks of decay—your candle is extinguished by a gust of spectral wind that disappears as quickly as it came. There you are in the dark, in the cold, in this place of death, blanketed in the fog that has swept over the moors, past the great manor house, and down into the vaults that hold the bones of those who no longer need to fear. But you fear. And you should fear . . . because you have entered the realm of Gothic Horror.

"Through One Darksome Portal": The Ghastly, the Ghostly, and the Gothic explores monsters and mystery, haunted people and haunted places, charting a shadowy path through 255 years of Gothic Horror—from Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto and Bram Stoker’s Dracula to contemporary works by Stephen King and Sarah Waters. The exhibit features a variety of materials from Rare Books & Special Collections, the University Archives, the NIU Music Library, and Founders Memorial Library’s Main Collection: all meant to add some thrills and chills to the misty mornings and moonlit nights leading up to All Hallows’ Eve.

On display throughout the month of October in the Founders Gallery (1st floor SW, Founders Memorial Library).

Contact person: Dee Anna Phares,, (815) 753-1770.

International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements (IYPT 2019) - Second Floor

The United Nations General Assembly and UNESCO have proclaimed 2019 to be the “International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements.”  This is also the 150th anniversary of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements, since Dmitri Mendeleev discovered Periodic Law in 1869.

Contact person: Meredith Ayers,, (815) 753-1872.

Regional History Center – Fourth Floor

Reading Room cases: “NIU Student Festivals: Traditions of Fun”

Campus has come together for friendly competition, light-hearted entertainment, carnivals, and social dances since its founding in 1899. These events are ways for NIU students to build community and unwind. Today Homecoming remains the one major campus event, but in the past May Fete and Winter Carnival were just as important.

These festivities serve as reminders that college is about more than academics, and offer the chance for campus-wide fun.

Entry Way Exhibit case: “NIU's Memory Art Walk”

From our Art building’s studio spaces to visiting artist, there have been a broad range of artwork that has been created and displayed throughout campus. The mini display holds event postcards featuring artwork for exhibitions held at campus, memorabilia and student artwork.

Contact person: Margret Abbott,, (815) 753-1779.

Rare Books and Special Collections - Fourth Floor

“Stonewall and Beyond”

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, Rare Books and Special Collections is exhibiting items from the Gender Studies collection related to the Stonewall Uprising, the LGBTQIA+ struggle, and books that won or were considered for the Stonewall Book Awards.

Contact person: Angie Schroeder,, (815) 753-8091.

Southeast Asia Collection - Fourth Floor

“Discover Myanmar”

In conjunction with the symposium on Burmese reverse glass painting, the visit of the Ambassador of Myanmar to the US, Aung Lynn, and as part of International Education Week, the Southeast Asia collection has put together an exhibit about Myanmar.  It features books, and artifacts that focus on the history, politics, culture and art of Myanmar.  Included in this are some old and rare books from the rare books annex.  The exhibit also highlights NIU’s involvement with Myanmar through the Center for Burma Studies as well as workshops in two university libraries in Myanmar taught by Hao Phan.

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

Contact Us

Dean Fred Barnhart

Phone: (815) 753-1094

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

Business Hours