Current and upcoming exhibitions

Current exhibitions

3D sidebar

Thinking 3D: Leonardo to the present

21 March 2019 — 9 February 2020

Treasury, Weston Library

For centuries, artists and scientists have wrestled with how to convey three-dimensional objects on the page. Using some of the Bodleian Libraries’ finest books, manuscripts, prints and drawings, Thinking 3D tells the story of the development of three-dimensional communication over the last 500 years.

The exhibition shows how new techniques, developed from the Renaissance onwards, revolutionized the way that ideas in the fields of anatomy, architecture, astronomy and geometry were relayed and ultimately how this has influenced how we perceive the world today. Timed to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, the exhibition shows how Leonardo and his contemporaries made great strides in the realistic depiction of 3D forms.

Thinking 3D explores technological advances up to the present day including 3D modelling, photography and stereoscopy; and also highlights the works of modern practitioners and researchers in Oxford. The exhibition will be accompanied by a range of smaller exhibitions and events across Oxford in 2019 as part of the Thinking 3D research project.

 Photograph of the Jain map  

Talking Maps

5 July 2019 - 8 March 2020

ST Lee Gallery, Weston Library

Every map tells a story. Talking Maps is a celebration of maps and what they tell us about the places they depict and the people that make and use them.

Drawing on the Bodleian's unparalleled collection of more than 1.3 million maps, this exhibition brings together an extraordinary selection of ancient, pre-modern and contemporary maps from a range of cultures and in a variety of formats as well as showcasing fascinating imaginary, fictional and war maps.

Talking Maps explores how maps are neither transparent objects of scientific communication, nor baleful tools of ideology, but proposals about the world that help people to understand who they are by describing where they are.

Current displays

 Illustration of the moon and a lake, and musical notes

We Look to the Moon

13 July — 15 September 2019

, Bodleian Library

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the first crewed mission to land on the Moon (20 July 1969). Come and explore humanity’s study of, and fascination with, all things lunar.

 Languages of God: sacred scripts of Ethiopia and Eritrea

Languages of God: sacred scripts of Ethiopia and Eritrea

27 July — 13 October 2019

Blackwell Hall, Weston Library

Ge’ez is one of the world’s ancient languages and is still used in the churches of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Members of Ethiopian and Eritrean communities living in the UK have worked together to curate a selection of vibrant and beautiful books produced by this scholarly and devout African culture.

 Upcoming displays


 War Without Glamour: Emily Hobhouse’s peace activism, 1899–1926

21 September - 24 November 2019    

Proscholium, Bodleian Library

Newly-donated papers at the Bodleian Library are showcased to tell the story of Emily Hobhouse’s lifelong commitment to revealing the devastating impact of war on women and children.


Very like a Whale

18 October 2019 — 5 January 2020

Blackwell Hall, Weston Library

This display marks 200 years since the birth of Herman Melville with 21st-century prints inspired by his most famous fictional creation, Moby-Dick.

 Three boys holing a pigeon

Daniel Meadows: now and then

4 October — 24 November 2019

Blackwell Hall, Weston Library

Daniel Meadows: Now and Then celebrates the work of one of Britain’s foremost photographers who worked from the 1970s onward, authentically capturing British life. The show presents pairs of portraits taken in the 1970s and again in the 1990s, alongside short films explaining how the pictures came about and what happened next.

The exhibition also marks the recent and important gift of Daniel Meadows’ photographic archive to the Bodleian Libraries.


 Sketch of people dancing

Meet the Edgeworths

30 November 2019 — 26 January 2020

Proscholium, Old Bodleian Library

Get acquainted with this talented brood of Anglo-Irish scientists, writers, and artists. 250 years after her death, we explore the cult of celebrity surrounding the eldest daughter of 22 siblings, the ‘great Maria’, and the trouble and triumph it brought in its wake.

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