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University of Iowa News Release


June 8, 2007

UI Museum of Art Will Display Books And Manuscripts June 23-Oct. 7

A collection of rare books and manuscripts from collections at the University of Iowa will go on public display for the first time at the UI Museum of Art (UIMA) in the exhibition "From Monks to Masters: The Medieval Manuscript and the Early Printed Book," June 23-Oct. 7.

The exhibition is a collaboration of UI Libraries Special Collections, the Hardin Library's Martin Rare Book Room and the UIMA. It was organized by David Schoonover and Gregory Prickman of Special Collections & University Archives at the UI Libraries, and Kathleen Kamerick of the UI Department of History.

The exhibition of more than 50 objects explores the transition from a time when books were hand copied by a select group of literate and often religious scribes to the era of mass-produced books created by master printers using the latest 15th-century technology -- the hand-operated wooden printing press.

"The university has a very good sampling of the kinds of books that were printed during this early period and we wanted to give the public a chance to see them," Prickman said.

Among the books and manuscripts to be put on display are beautiful and intriguing illuminated manuscripts and fine examples of incunabula (books printed before 1500). Together, these books illustrate a pivotal moment in history and demonstrate the relevance of historical materials to modern times.

Individual objects in the exhibition include a 15th-century "Book of Hours of the Blessed Virgin Mary," a homily of Pope Gregory the Great from around 1450 and two copies of the "Nuremberg Chronicle."

"We would like to emphasize the teaching function of these collections," said Schoonover, who is curator of rare books at the UI libraries. "Instructors at this university across the humanities have used these books in the classrooms, from medieval history and art history to the language arts, religious studies and music."

This exhibition is open to the public free of charge.

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, and noon to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Admission is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots west and north of the museum.

For more information on the UI Museum of Art visit

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072; cell: 319-541-2846; Writer: Emily Grosvenor

PHOTOS: available at