Skip navigation

Clarke Historical Library Exhibit:
Exhibit Popup.jpg

On exhibit through January 2021
in the Clarke Historical Library 

Celebrating the acquisition of over 600 pop-up books collected by Dr. Francis and Mary Lois Molson, the exhibit documents the delights of pop-up books for children and adults, as well as the very serious work of authors and paper engineers, who make the surprise and wonder occur. What is fascinating about pop-up books is that the person who picks one up becomes director, performer, and audience, controlling a performance engineered for them but completely under their power.

Because of the difficulties in travel and physical access caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have created an extended virtual exhibit that can be enjoyed online which we hope you will explore and enjoy.

Our hope is that you will be able to enjoy the exhibit in person during the library's normal operating hours sometime during the summer or fall of 2020.  However, because of the many uncertainties related to the pandemic, please contact the library staff before visiting to determine if physical access to the exhibit is possible and if it is if there are any limiting conditions that you will need to observe. Speak to us before setting out to see the exhibit either by email ( or by telephone (989.774.3352) to confirm in advance that we can accommodate your visit. Rules make it impossible for us to allow a person or group who arrives unannounced to enter the building or the exhibit area. Please contact us in advance to confirm that you will be able to enjoy the show in person.

Explore the Surprise and Wonder

While movable parts within a book have been a part of book design for centuries, originally they were almost always used in scholarly works and in books for adults. How better to illustrate an anatomy text, for example, than with little tabs, allowing you to see what lay beneath the skin? It was not until the 19th century that these techniques were applied to books that were designed to entertain and delight children. Once children became the audience, the story began to emerge, particularly stories like fairy tales and mythology, as well as adapting stories from the theater.

The main feature of a moveable book is its interactivity. The book's mechanisms cause the content of its pages to transform, engrossing the reader through the element of surprise. Its effects cannot be completely anticipated, and in general, when a good moveable book is opened, each page is like a Christmas present, provoking a sense of wonder.

Imaginative paper engineers continue to explore and to innovate new ways to fold paper, devise complex pull tabs that create movement, design intricate three-dimensional pop-up forms, and use cut paper, string, and other mechanisms to make figures magically twist and turn. The possibilities seem endless. Today, the simple, dynamic quality of the cut paper forms and mechanisms can create books that are a sculptural work of art.

The exhibit was curated by Doctors Gretchen Papazian and Anne Hiebert Alton, both faculty members in CMU's Department of English Language and Literature. Janet Danek, the Libraries' Exhibits, and Projects Coordinator designed the show. Opening on March 17, 2020, the exhibit will run through the fall semester. 

To learn more about the exhibit we encourage you to watch an extended interview with Janet Danek, the exhibit designer.

Clarke Historical Library Speaker Series
  • Join us online or on the telephone at 7:00 p.m. each Thursday, February 11 through March 11, as well as Tuesday, March 30, to see and listen to the Clarke Historical Library’s spring speakers. 
  • To make a reservation for any or all or the first five presentations, visit to register and receive an access code for each event.
  • Please contact us at or 989.774.3352 for more information, including information about connecting to the presentation via telephone.

  • The exact time and access information for the March 31 Hemingway the presentation will be made available later.

Thursday, March 4 at 7:00pm:
Aladdin Homes in Southeast Michigan

Andrew and Wendy.pngWendy and Andrew Mutch have specialized in identifying Aladdin homes in southeast Michigan and will discuss the company and homes they have found.

The Aladdin Company of Bay City, Michigan, was one of America's most long-lived manufacturers of mail-order, "kit homes." Begun in 1906 by two brothers, Otto and William Sovereign, the family-owned firm continued to manufacture houses until 1981. Over the firm's long history, it sold over 75,000 homes to
both individual and corporate customers.

20201118_Aladdin_Marsden_013_420x560.gifThe records of the Aladdin Company were donated to the Clarke Historical Library in 1996. The almost complete run of company catalogs, full set of sales records, over 15,000 post-World War II architectural drawings, and various other company records create an extraordinary historical resource.

Thursday, March 11 at 7:00pm:
Abra Berens, Michigan Foodways exhibit opening event
Register for this Webex Presentation

Abra-Ruffage-January.jpgAbra Berens is a chef, former farmer, and writer. Ruffage: A Practical Guide to Vegetables is her first cookbook and is rooted in her personal experiences. It is a teaching cookbook that aims to help build reader's confidence in preparing vegetables by providing recipes, explanations of cooking techniques, and a myriad of variations for each recipe. The book was one of the New York Times twelve best new cookbooks in the spring of 2019 and was named a Michigan Notable Book in 2020.


Berens grew up on a farm in Wisconsin and started cooking in Ann Arbor's Zingerman's Deli while in she was in college. She went on to study cooking in Ireland. After returning to the United States, she began cooking in Chicago. But while in Chicago she began to think about getting back to the farm and to cook with local ingredients.

"It was that desire to have my food be of a place. I had been talking with my husband Erik about these ideas. Then he went to Ann Arbor and had a beer with Jess, [who became] my business partner. Jess had just started farming for Zingerman's." In 2009, she co-founded Bare Knuckle Farm in Northport. From 2009 to 2014 she had two homes; moving to Michigan in the spring and then back to Chicago in the fall. 

In 2015, she left Northport to open the café at Local Foods in Chicago because it made more "fiscal sense." But in 2017, she relocated to southwest Michigan and joined the team at Granor Farm in Three Oaks. There, she combines her love of farms and restaurants to create dinners on the farm that celebrate southwest Michigan's diverse agriculture.

Wednesday, March 31 at 6:30PM
(Date of event changed from March 30)

Register for this event at

Hemingway-HortonCreek.jpgLynn Novick, who co-produced this forthcoming PBS documentary with Ken Burns, and local Hemingway experts will discuss the documentary, which will air on WCMU April 5-7. The documentary includes material from the Clarke telling the story of Hemingway's time in Michigan.

Hemingway is a three-part, six-hour documentary film HIM-Logo.jpgthat examines the visionary work and the turbulent life of Ernest Hemingway, one of the greatest and most influential writers America has produced. Interweaving his eventful biography, a life lived at the ultimately treacherous nexus of art, fame, and celebrity, with carefully selected excerpts from his short stories, novels, and non-fiction, the film seeks to see beyond the façade of the public man and allow the viewer to become familiar
with a brilliant, ambitious, charismatic, and egocentric genius.

This presentation is sponsored by the Clarke Historical Library and WCMU Public Media.

Events are free and open to the public. Those in need of an accommodation
should call (989) 774-
1100 or email