Yale Library announces new Senior Exhibit Fellowship, proposals due March 7

  • Sunlit stone hallway with arched ceiling and exhibit cases facing a wall of windows.
    Senior essay exhibits are presented in Sterling Library's Wall Street Exhibition Corridor.
  • Female student with brown hair wearing a jeans jacket holding papers posing next to shelves of exhibit materials with exhibit cases in the background.
    Eve Sneider ’19 organized her senior essay exhibit on the journalist Janet Malcolm around the concept of three spaces that fascinated Malcolm: the courtroom, the psychoanalyst's office and the archives
  • Female student with blond hair and navy dress standing in front of exhibit cases showing comic books and related research materials.
    In 2016, Stephanie Tomasson ’16 curated Yale Library's first senior essay exhibit telling the story of a 1950s political crusade against the evils of comic books.
February 9, 2022

The Senior Exhibit Fellowship will provide a $4,200 stipend for one Yale College student to conduct senior essay research in Yale Library archives and collections. The research will become the foundation of a museum-quality exhibit curated by the student in Sterling Memorial Library.

The new fellowship is a significant enhancement to the library’s seven-year-old Senior Essay Exhibit program. The stipend will subsidize a five-week summer research experience, which must take place on campus using Yale Library collections during the summer between the student’s junior and senior year. During the senior year, the student will curate an exhibit based on their research, with professional mentoring and exhibit production support from the library’s exhibit production team, and working closely with a librarian advisor and a faculty advisor. The finished exhibit will be on view in Sterling’s Wall Street Exhibition Corridor from May through October.

Proposals for the 2023 fellowship are due from current Yale College juniors on March 7; the fellowship recipient will be announced in April. View the fellowship application.

“I hope that many members of the Class of 2023 will look seriously at the Senior Exhibit Fellowship opportunity,” said Barbara Rockenbach, the Stephen F. Gates ’68 University Librarian. “Since 2016, the exhibit program has given one senior each year an extraordinary opportunity to highlight their research with library collections in the unique narrative form of an exhibit. We are thrilled to be able to enhance this opportunity with funding for a summer research experience.”

Past senior essay exhibits have illuminated students’ senior essay research on a 1950s comic book scare, the art of bookplates, posters of the Palestinian intifada, journalist Janet Malcolm, Edith Wharton’s interest in interior design, and the Black Panthers in New Haven.  The 2021 exhibit, Free the New Haven Panthers”: The New Haven Nine, Yale, and the May Day 1970 Protests That Brought Them Together, initially curated by Kathryn Shmechel ’21 as an online exhibit, is on view now in the Exhibit Corridor.  The  2022 exhibit, We Are Everywhere: Lesbians in the Archive, curated by Gabrielle Colangelo ’22, will open May 2.  

Previous exhibit titles and student curators are:

2020 Edith Wharton: Designing the Drawing Room, curated by Julia Carabatsos ’20 as an online exhibit only due to pandemic restrictions.  

2019 The Courtroom, the Couch, and the Archive: Janet Malcolm’s Journalism, curated by Eve Sneider ’19

2018 Taking up the Slingshot: Posters from the First Palestinian Intifada (1987-1993), curated by Christopher Malley ’18.

2017 Constructing a Pictorial Identity: Bookplates in the Golden Age of Collecting, curated by Olivia Armandoff ’17.

2016 Senators, Sinners and Superman, curated by Stephanie Tomasson ’16.

The fellowship was supposed to launch last year but was delayed when the pandemic precluded on-campus research last summer.  Learn more about the Senior Exhibit Fellowship and watch video interviews with recent student curators Julia Carabatsos and Kathryn Shmechel about their experience curating library exhibits. 

Questions? Please email Kerri Sancomb, Exhibit Production Manager in Conservation and Exhibition Services.

—By Patricia M. Carey