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
This exhibition is a preview of the permanent Kislak space to
open in the Northeast Galleries of the Thomas Jefferson Building.
Caption for image: 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)