November 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

Mail Call

Smithsonian Logo
USS Nimitz, 2003
Unloading mail aboard the USS Nimitz, 2003. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate First Class Arlo Abrahamson.

The traveling version of the National Postal Museum’s permanent exhibition Mail Call is on display in the Main Library’s Atrium through Jan. 18. The exhibition, now in the midst of a 15-city national tour, tells the fascinating story of military mail and communication from the American Revolution to current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mail Call gives visitors access to dramatic firsthand records and heartfelt sentiments through excerpts from letters exchanged between writers on the front line and the home front. The exhibit also explores how the military postal system works today and describes the new ways the men and women of the armed forces are communicating with home. From the earliest handwritten letters that took days or even months to deliver, to today’s instant communication via email or the Internet, Mail Call presents the changing look and format of mail pieces through the decades. It also examines the complex operations systems set in place to ensure safe delivery, and it explores the incalculable role mail plays in maintaining the morale of American soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen.

Mail Call is a National Postal Museum exhibition organized and circulated by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.

Serving with Honor: The Queen City’s Veterans

Scenic River Views
Air Force crew poses in front of the B-29 Amiable Amazon
at Adak Island, Alaska, ca. 1944

Commemorate local veterans by exploring a special exhibit which runs Nov. 7 through mid-January in the Joseph S. Stern, Jr. Cincinnati Room at the Main Library. The exhibit profiles some of the many veterans from the Greater Cincinnati area who took up the call of duty starting from the War of 1812 to the present day. The exhibit will include photos, diaries, letters, uniforms, medals and other artifacts from the veterans of the War of 1812, Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korean, Vietnamese, Gulf and Afghanistan Wars.