Juan Eusebio Nieremberg (1595-1658) detail of a snake from Historia Naturae, Maxime Peregrinæ, Libris XVI Distincta (A Natural History of the Americas). Antwerp: Ex Officina Plantiniana, Balthasaris Moreti, 1635. Jay I. Kislak Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division (4)
To celebrate the donation of the Jay I. Kislak Collection, the Library of Congress presents The Cultures and History of the Americas, an exhibition featuring fifty highlights from the more than 4,000 rare books, maps, documents, paintings, prints, and artifacts that make up the Jay I. Kislak Collection at the Library of Congress. Like the collection itself, the exhibition focuses on the early Americas from the time of the indigenous people of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean through the period of European contact, exploration, and settlement.

This exhibition explores several themes, including the pre-Columbian cultures of Central America and the Caribbean as revealed in sculpture, architecture, and language; encounters between Europeans and the indigenous peoples; the growth of European Florida; and piracy and trade in the American Atlantic.

The Library has created two electronic presentations for this exhibition that allow for interactive exploration of individual objects. Visitors can use the newly designed technology "Page by Page" to turn the leaves of a seventeenth-century book, The Buccaneers of America. A second station highlights the Tortuguero box, a seventh-century wooden artifact from the Mayan culture, and allows visitors to examine the box and decipher its ancient hieroglyphs.

This exhibition is a preview of the permanent Kislak space to open in the Northeast Galleries of the Thomas Jefferson Building.