April 2014

Main Library · Exhibits at the Main Library

Permanent Exhibits

Cincinnati Panorama of 1848

Image of Cincinnati Panorama of 1848Cincinnati Panorama of 1848

Charles Fontayne and William S. Porter’ Cincinnati Panorama of 1848, the oldest wide view photograph of an American city, returns to permanent display after more than half a century out of the public eye. Located in the Joseph S. Stern, Jr. Cincinnati Room, this award-winning masterpiece is revered worldwide as one of the finest examples of daguerreian photography. Displayed in its original mat and mid 19th century frame, it is protected from deterioration with an interior housing of argon gas and filtered lights. Two interactive displays, one adjacent to the original and a second in the Main Library’s Atrium, allow the viewer to experience Cincinnati’s bustling riverfront through high definition images on touch screens. Navigate and zoom in for a glimpse of life along the riverfront in 1848. Points of Interest in the digital displays provide further exploration through portraits, newspapers, advertisements, documents, and maps from the time period.

Image of Amelia Valerio Weinberg Memorial FountainAmelia Valerio Weinberg Memorial Fountain

Amelia Valerio Weinberg Memorial Fountain

The Amelia Valerio Weinberg Memorial Fountain is located on the Vine Street Plaza in front of the Main Library. Conceived and executed by former Cincinnati sculptor Michael Frasca, this ornamental fountain was made possible by a bequest from Mrs. Weinberg and was dedicated in 1990. Affectionately known as the “book fountain,” the sculpture features water cascading over a stack of ceramic tile books, representing the free flow of information and ideas through the printed word. The fountain is a popular spot for school groups and tourists.

Historic Stained Glass Windows

When the original Main Library opened to the public in 1874, three beautiful, intricate stained glass windows graced one of the reading rooms in the building. The windows were designed and manufactured by Riordan Art Glass in Cincinnati, now BeauVerre Riordan Studios.

Stained glass windowStained glass window

In 1955, when the building was demolished, the windows were sold at auction, later to resurface as part of the décor of the Old Spaghetti Factory on Pete Rose Way. After the restaurant closed in 1997, the Library purchased the windows and began making plans to return them to the Main Library for the appreciation and enjoyment of our customers and staff.

Thanks to the generosity of the Friends of the Public Library and the Annabel Fey Trust Fund, the three windows have now been restored to their original glory by River City Art Glass and Restoration, Inc. and placed on permanent display on each floor of the Main Library. The restoration and display of these historic stained glass windows are dedicated in honor of Robert D. Stonestreet for his 31 years of service to the Library, including as Library Director from 1991–1998.

Louise Nevelson Sculpture

modern art sculpture“Sky Landscape II”

The 8th & Walnut Street entrance to the Main Library is flanked by “Sky Landscape II,” a major public sculpture by world-renowned artist Louise Nevelson (1899–1988). The 3,800-pound, 20-foot tall painted steel sculpture was relocated to the library on January 8, 1993. It had been given to the City of Cincinnati by Federated Department Stores (now known as Macy’s), who had commissioned the piece in 1980 for the entrance to their 7 West Seventh Street headquarters.

Honoring Our Veterans

The Veterans’ Memorial display case, located in the Atrium of the Main Library, recognizes the sacrifice and contribution of local veterans and showcases our collection of veterans’ memorabilia.

Temporary Exhibits


Sample of photos from the Main Library exhibit

FotoFocus

Come view Cincinnati as seen through the eyes and camera lenses of the region’s best photographers during the Frame Cincinnati photo exhibit Sept. 9–Nov. 2 in the atrium at the Main Library. This exhibit is part of FotoFocus Cincinnati, a month-long biennial celebration spotlighting independently programmed exhibitions of historical and contemporary photography.

Nearly 300 entries were received for this year’s contest, and 40 of those were selected for display. They range from iconic monuments to everyday moments. The exhibit is co-sponsored by the Photography Club of Greater Cincinnati and the Friends of the Public Library.

Scenic River Views: Towns along the Ohio River

Scenic River Views

Cities and towns from Pittsburgh, Pa., to Cairo, Ill., have drawn their life from the Ohio River. See images that capture life along the major waterway during the Scenic River Views: Towns along the Ohio River exhibit, which features vintage photographs from the collection of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

“Scenic River Views gives us a glimpse of life along the Ohio River in the past century,” said Reference Librarian Diane Mallstrom. “From big city traffic in Pittsburgh to sleepy small town Cairo, the river was and still is a major transportation route that brings people to its banks.”

Scenic River Views will be on display Aug. 29 through Nov. 2 in the Joseph S. Stern, Jr. Cincinnati Room at the Main Library, downtown. Drawn from Library’s Inland Rivers Collection, this photographic exhibit features Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Louisville, as well as small towns such as Marietta, Madison and Paducah. Steamboats and a photographic history of river trade are well represented.

Double Vision exhibit
Children at the Old Main Library(Circa 1906)

Double Vision

As the world swiftly leaves behind the golden age of photo snapshots and albums—preferring digital cameras and now smartphones to capture photographs, take a step back in time and look at one of the most fascinating and innovative accomplishments in photographic history; the stereoscopic slide. Photos of conserved historic stereoscopic slides and digitally reproduced surrogates are on display at the Main Library in a new exhibit Double Vision: Seeing the World in Stereoscopic View on display in the Popular Library through Oct. 17.