YDL Past Exhibits



Backstage Pass

Baron Wolman and the Early Years of Rolling Stone

Sept. 1-Oct. 20, 2016
YDL-Whittaker Community Room


As Chief Photographer for Rolling Stone from 1967 to 1970, Baron Wolman pioneered a new genre of iconic rock photography. Backstage Pass gives viewers an opportunity to experience how the photographers and editors of Rolling Stone guided the creation of the “rock star” persona, from concert, to cover, to icon.

Contextualized in 35 framed photographs, contact sheets, and original magazine covers, Backstage Pass presents an intimate view of a crucial period of cultural transformation in American history. Audiences will go “backstage” to see how photographic coverage of events such as Woodstock and The Day on the Green have contributed to our collective cultural memory.

Feeding the heightened political and cultural climate of the time, featured artists Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Frank Zappa came to represent generational ideals through music, words, and visual imagery. Taking an unobtrusive approach with his subjects, Wolman’s techniques resulted in photographs and eventually magazine covers that capture a rawness and emotion of the artists and a generation. Together, Backstage Pass encourages our understanding of how images become iconic symbols of American history.

Wild Land 


Lake with Dead Trees by Thomas Cole, 1825April 6-May 25, 2016

In November 1825, three large oil paintings by a relatively unknown artist appeared in a New York City gallery window. The three works, featuring dramatic landscapes from locations in upstate New York, immediately attracted critical acclaim. “This youth has done at once, and without instruction, what I can not do after fifty years of practice,” exclaimed one prominent American artist.

The creator of those three works was a young English immigrant named Thomas Cole. Over the course of the next two decades, Cole revolutionized the field of American landscape painting. He gave rise to a style of painting that later become known as the Hudson River School. In the process, the young, self-taught artist helped Americans rethink their relationship with the natural world around them. Wild Land explores Cole’s role as an artistic and cultural pioneer who helped give rise to the emerging concept of the American nation. How did this young Englishman see something in the American wilderness that many Americans themselves did not yet see?

Using a combination of large-scale banner graphics, immersive environments, media features, and other interactive strategies, Wild Land takes audiences on a journey with Cole through the story of his creative process. From an itinerant portrait artist to the founder of the Hudson River School, how did this landscape artist transform sketches from nature into a new vision of the wilderness?

Wild Land examines how the meaning of nature has changed over time into a source for creative and intellectual inspiration. And just as Cole did, visitors are invited to explore the concept of preservation and how societies come to value and live in balance with natural resources. In concluding the exhibit, visitors are left to contemplate whether Cole’s premature death may have signified a beginning of an American artistic legacy and an identity as a nation inextricably tied to nature.

Wild Land is co-curated by Elizabeth Jacks, the Executive Director of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site and Dr. Kevin J. Avery, Department of American Paintings, Metropolitan Museum of Art (also the essayist). The exhibit was organized by The Thomas Cole National Historic Site/Cedar Grove in Catskill, New York. Wild Land is adapted and toured by the NEH on the Road Program, a division of Mid- America Arts Alliance and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. It was designed and fabricated by Flint Hills Design of Newton, Kansas.


Discover Tech

Engineers Make A World of Difference

January 9 - March 30, 2016

YDL hosted an interactive exhibit, Discover Tech: Engineers Make A World of Difference, through a grant funded by the National Science Foundation.

Discover Tech is a hands-on exhibit where visitors can see how engineers solve problems—like supplying clean water to villages, generating solar energy, or building an archway—using both high- and low-tech tools.

To complement the exhibit, YDL's entire winter season focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math programs! From using math to build a giant tetrahedron, to learning about sustainable straw-bale home construction, to creating objects using a 3D printer, programs inspired people of all ages to pursue science careers and hobbies.

This exhibit kicked off the Year of Science and Technology at YDL. In addition to the exhibit, YDL raised funds to support the library's science and technology resources and programs


Daniel Gonzalez Prints

Noted artist Daniel Gonzalez led YDL's celebration of Día de Muertos or Day of the Dead. YDL had an ofrenda or traditional Mexican altar that became a participatory art project as patrons added their own mementos and memories of loved ones during the month of October.

Mr. Gonzalez also displayed his intricately carved relief prints and led art workshops for all ages. Many of his pieces include the skull images that are associated with the Day of the Dead, but his work also blurs the borders between art, activism, community, and academia. Inspired by his childhood in Mexico, his art parallels many of the political, social, and cultural movements relevant to Latino/a Americans living in the U.S.

“I feel that it is my responsibility as an artist to be a vehicle for culture, to inspire a sensibility of the creative, to pierce the fence we have built to keep ourselves apart and to remind people of the common experience we share in life,” Gonzalez said in his artist statement.


The Director Within: Rose Eichenbaum

April 16-June 12, 2015

The Ypsilanti District Library is once again honored to partner with photographer Rose Eichenbaum in staging an exhibition of 20 images from her latest book, The Director Within: Storytellers of Stage and Screen. The book is an inspirational, informative, and entertaining resource for anyone interested in creativity, art making, and artistic collaboration. Each photograph will be accompanied by interview excerpts of the director’s thoughts on the entertainment industry, the role and life of the director, and the ways theatrical and cinematic storytelling impact our culture and our lives. The portraits on display will include Peter Bogdanovich, Mel Brooks, John Carpenter, Barry Levinson, Lawrence Kasdan, and Julie Taymor.

YDL is the only location in the country to host this exhibition, so don’t miss this exclusive engagement!



Ms. Eichenbaum will also be available for several photography events, including offering photography critiques for the Photography for Older Adults series


Through a Lens:  Photography for Older Adults


YDL-Michigan, May 17-June 12, 2014

We invite those 55 or older to study the art of photography with teaching artist Professor Jennifer Baker and Literature Professor Heather Neff. Learn about composition, light, and image processing to create the best shots then receive instruction on writing a short piece about your photos. The April 17th session will feature special guest Rose Eichenbaum whose exhibition The Director Within will be on display at YDL. This series is geared toward beginners and each participant should bring their own digital camera. An opening reception will be held at the Michigan Avenue branch on May 17th.




Muslim Journeys

October 2013

YDL was a proud recipient of an ALA/NEH grant collection celebrating Muslim culture and heritage, and hosted an exhibit from the Arab American National Museum.  The reception featured a presentation by EMU professor emeritus Dr. Janice Terry. Co-sponsored with Eastern Michigan University and the Michigan Humanities Council.


Fine Art of Jazz

April 6-May 25, 2013

This exhibition showcased the impact Kansas City jazz musicians and vocalists had on the national jazz movement of the 1920s and 1930s through photographs of and commentary on renowned jazz musicians who got their start in Kansas City. These artists grew from there to have great impact on American jazz as we know it today. Many of them are still performing and remain a powerful influence on the jazz genre. The Fine Art of Jazz consists of 50 black-and-white photographic portraits by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Dan White complete with commentary from exhibition curator Chuck Haddix, co-author of Kansas City Jazz: From Ragtime to BeBop – A History.

The exhibition is organized and toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance and The National Endowment for the Arts. The exhibition’s appearance at YDL is made possible through the generous support of the Friends of the Ypsilanti District Library.




June 1-August 19, 2012

Come on in! The water’s fine… or is it? YDL was pleased to host the Michigan premiere of the exhibit Sharkabet: A Sea of Sharks from A to Z—a fun way to explore sharks. Consisting of panels and text drawn by Alaskan artist Ray Troll for the book by the same name, Sharkabet presented an alphabet of living and extinct sharks in a series of colorful, whimsical, yet scientifically accurate drawings. Sharkabet made it fun to learn about these creatures that have been in existence for more than 400 million years! And these sharks won’t bite – we promise! For more information on Ray Troll, visit his website at trollart.com.


The Wartime Excape

April 6-May 25, 2012

The Wartime Escape: Margret and H.A. Rey’s Journey from France opened March 26 at the Ypsilanti District Library, 5577 Whittaker Road. More than three generations of Americans have grown up reading the stories of an irrepressible little brown monkey known in this country as “Curious George.” But few people know about the incredible journey made by his creators, Margret and H.A. Rey, to escape the Nazi invasion of Paris at the start of World War II. Stashing a few precious belongings and manuscripts in their knapsacks and the baskets of their bicycles, the Jewish couple fled Paris in June 1940, starting a five-month odyssey by bike, train, and boat that would eventually bring them to American shores.

Beginning in the years prior to the war, The Wartime Escape explores the Reys’ early creative collaborations and traces how the story of George himself (originally titled The Adventures of Fifi) spanned the wartime period. The monkey emerged as a character in one of the Reys’ pre-World War II stories, and the manuscript that became Curious George was already in progress by 1939. However, wartime constraints on printing as well as the general turmoil of the period prevented the original contract from being fulfilled. When the Reys were forced to flee Paris along with thousands of other refugees in advance of the German occupation, the manuscript and illustrations for the book were among the few personal possessions that they managed to take with them. Escaping via Spain and Portugal, then across the Atlantic to Brazil, the Reys finally reached the United States in October 1940. A month later, they received a new contract from Houghton Mifflin for The Adventures of Fifi, later re-titled The Adventures of Curious George.

Throughout the run of the exhibit, YDL hosted special programs: a screening of Curious George, the movie; storytimes featuring Curious George stories; and a craft where you create your own book with illustrations.

The exhibition features 27 framed art prints by artist Allan Drummond and supplemental archival images from the holdings of the DeGrummond Collection of Children’s Literature at the University of Southern Mississippi. The exhibition is based in part on the 2005 publication, The Journey that Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey, written by Louise Borden and illustrated by Allan Drummond (Houghton Mifflin Company, New York). The exhibition is organized and curated by Beth Seldin Dotan, Director of the Institute for Holocaust Education in Omaha, Nebraska

The exhibition is toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance. The Friends of the Ypsilanti District Library’s generous support made the exhibit’s visit to Ypsilanti possible. The exhibit will be open to the public during the library’s open hours.


Snoopy as the World War I Flying Ace

Courtesy of ExhibitsUSA
February 3-March 10, 2011

Hey, Peanuts fans! Charles Schulz's classic comic strips featuring Snoopy as the World War I Flying Ace will be on display in the Community Room at YDL-Whittaker. This exhibition is great for the whole family and includes 40 of Snoopy's boldest adventures in his transformed doghouse - now a Sopwith Camel airplane. Follow Snoopy on his imaginary adventures through the skies of Europe sparring with his archenemy, the Red Baron.

When the World War I Flying Ace first appeared in Peanuts on October 10, 1965, Charles Schulz could not have imagined the heights to which his beagle would soar. He had experimented with different roles for Snoopy, including a penguin, a rattlesnake, and a vulture. However, it was Snoopy’s transformation into a fighter pilot that truly captured the hearts and imaginations of Peanuts fans.

With his signature catchphrases—“Curse you, Red Baron!” and “I’ll get you, Red Baron!”—the Flying Ace became one of America’s most popular comic strip characters. In the 1960s and 1970s, he was seen everywhere: television (he made his first appearance in the 1966 animated classic It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown), advertisements, books and magazines, clothing, wristwatches, toys, board games, and posters. He even inspired The Royal Guardsmen’s 1966 hit song "Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron."

The Flying Ace appeared for the last time on Sunday, November 28, 1999 after starring in more than 400 strips in 34 years. To the delight of Peanuts fans around the world, the Flying Ace always met his challenges—from fighting the Red Baron to going to the vet—with sly humor and endless imagination. Schulz used classic jokes and visual humor to create a story line that was funny as well as educational, introducing historic World War I-era terms like “Red Baron” and “Sopwith Camel” to new generations. The Flying Ace, more than Snoopy’s other alter egos, broke through the everyday world of the Peanuts gang to create a unique and lasting fantasy.


Related Programs (2011)


Tuesday, February 8: Snoopy Exhibit Opening Reception (Family)
Monday, February 14: Movie: A Charlie Brown Valentine (Youth)
Friday, February 18; Thursday, February 24; Saturday, February 26: Root Beer Making: Snoopy's Favorite Drink (Youth)
Saturday, February 26: Knights of the Air: Manfred von Richthofen and the Cult of the Fighter Ace in WWI (Teen/Adult)
Sunday, February 27: Make and Fly Paper Airplanes (Youth)
Wednesday, March 9: Movie: The Red Baron (Adult)

Drawing Contest: To celebrate this exhibit, we're hosting a Peanuts Drawing Contest. Use pencil or ink on white paper and turn your drawing in with a cover sheet.

Online Auction: Bid for Snoopy-themed items and help YDL raise funds for future programming! The auction runs through March 10, 2011.


Related information:


Cartooning, Peanuts, and Charles Schulz materials at YDL
Cartooning, Peanuts, and Charles Schulz websites

Thanks to the Friends of the Ypsilanti District Library for underwriting this event.


All items in this exhibition appear courtesy of:
PEANUTS © United Feature Syndicate, Inc. Reproduced by permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., courtesy of the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center.

Snoopy as the World War I Flying Ace is organized by the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center and toured by ExhibitsUSA and The National Endowment for the Arts.



Linedrives and Lipstick: The Untold Story of Women's Baseball

June 2010

This extraordinary exhibit documented the forgotten side of America's pastime with 45 images and 10 objects selected from one of the nation's largest collections of women's baseball memorabilia.

Just In

October/November 2017 New & On Order DVD/Blu-ray
A listing of DVD's and Blu-ray added to the collection in October/November 2017
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