Celebrating the new Hanke Exhibition Gallery in Sterling Library

  • Six women and one man posing in front of carved wood gallery entrance.
    (L-R) Susan Gibbons, Lynn Hanke, Jae Rossman, Barbara Rockenbach, Michelle Light, Bill Landis, Kerri Sancomb
  • Audience standing in library nave looks toward woman welcomes guests to the new Hanke Gallery.
    University Librarian Barbara Rockenbach spoke at the Hanke Gallery opening event.
  • Man seen in profile looking down into exhibition case holding photographs and other objects. Behind him can be seen wood and stone of the exhibition gallery and other gallery visitors.
    ULC Member Elai Katz '92 views exhibition.
  • Head and shoulders view of smiling woman with glasses looking to the side.
    Lynn Hanke
  • Woman with dark hair and glasses, black blouse, red skirt, holding papers and speaking with stone walls and pillar in background.
    Michelle Light
  • Man with glasses, plaid bow tie, white shirt and dark suit jacket holding a paper in his hands and speaking.
    James Fullton
  • Man and woman standing facing each other with backdrop of  carved woodwork and openings through which library tables and study spaces can be seen.
    Bill Landis and Susan Gibbons
  • Head and shoulders view of two women side-by-side smiling with library space and other guests in the background
    Christine McCarthy (L) and Kerri Sancomb
  • framed picture on an easel showing archival image of Sterling Memorial Library
May 2, 2022

Lynn Hanke was honored at a University Library Council (ULC) ribbon cutting to celebrate the completion of the Hanke Exhibition Gallery in Sterling Memorial Library, a project she and her husband, Robert Hanke ’60, made possible. “For years, we have aspired to have a state-of-the-art exhibition gallery in the Sterling Memorial Library where we can share inspiring stories from across the library’s special collections in a central space,” Barbara Rockenbach, the Stephen F. Gates ’68 University Librarian, told the assembled guests. “Thanks to the great generosity and vision to support our special collection mission, Lynn and Robert Hanke have encouraged us to finally open such a space.”

Council members and library staff gathered to hear guest speakers James Fullton III, the University’s senior planner; Michelle Light, associate university librarian for Special Collections and director of the Beinecke Library; and Christine McCarthy, director of Preservation and Conservation Services.

Rockenbach presented Hanke, who is a ULC member and incoming chair of the Yale Library Associates Trustees, with a framed reproduction of architect James Gamble Rogers’s signed rendering of the High Street facade of Sterling Memorial Library. The Hankes supported the gallery construction in memory and honor of Rogers, an 1889 Yale graduate. “The gallery is a perfect example of how the spaces of Sterling Library can and should evolve over time to meet the changing needs of teaching and research, while continuing to reflect the inspirational vision of James Gamble Rogers,” Rockenbach said.

The museum-quality gallery, formerly an administration and storage area, was transformed by Apicella+Bunton Architects, the firm that renovated Sterling’s first floor and nave, the Yale Film Archive, the Franke Family Digital Humanities Lab—and, soon, the Linonia & Brothers Reading Room. The Hanke Gallery, whose architectural elements mirror the nave’s gothic-revival-style woodwork, has state-of-the-art security, humidity controls, table and wall cases, and carefully calibrated lighting to accommodate fragile and rare primary-source materials.

“Architecture is a collaborative art,” Fullton said. “With the Hanke Gallery creation, I think we see the best of what a successful collaboration can offer.” The gallery’s opening exhibition, “Points of Contact, Points of View,” is likewise a collaboration—of curators, librarians, and archivists who selected more than 60 objects from the library’s diverse special collections to display in this gallery at the heart of the campus. “The exhibit is such a wonderful first exhibit for the Hanke Gallery,” Michelle Light said in her remarks. “It shows the kinds of new stories we can tell by bringing items that are housed in multiple places together in this beautiful space.”

“Points of Contact, Points of View” will run through August 14. For more about the exhibition, read the article, which includes links to a videotaped Curator Conversation and a PDF of the exhibition text and object labels.

Members of the public may access the Hanke Gallery through Sterling Memorial Library on weekdays until 6 pm. All visitors must be vaccinated and boosted when eligible. See Yale Library COVID-19 updates for details.

—By Deborah Cannarella

Photographs by Judy Sirota Rosenthal