We make history accessible. The Clarke Historical Library's galleries, online exhibits, and traveling exhibits display and interpret the Library’s historical and unique collections.

Current Exhibitions

Enchanting Collections/Collecting Enchantment:
The Lucile Clarke Memorial Children's Library

Entrance of the Enchanting Collections exhibit with several large cut-out characters from children's books

Our new exhibition, Enchanting Collections/Collecting Enchantment: The Lucile Clarke Memorial Children's Library, showcases the fruits of the labors of over five decades of collectors, book dealers, and librarians to build a world-class collection of books, art, and other materials that have shaped young minds across the centuries. Although the stories are magical, how they became part of the Clarke Historical Library's collection is not.

The story begins in the late 1960s with Dr. Norman Clarke and his pursuit of the finest examples of American and English children's books, which he donated to CMU in 1972 in tribute to his late wife, Lucile. His quest connected him with a young bookseller, Justin Schiller. Schiller, who spoke at the opening of the Lucile Clarke Memorial Children's Library in 1972, would go on to an illustrious career in children's books.

Decades later, the initial collection has continued to grow through numerous additions. There was the Francis and Mary Lois Molson collection of art featured as illustrations in children's books and the donation of funds to support expanding the collection. There was also the Susan Stan collection of international award-winning books for young people, and the Kamenetsky endowment to support the acquisition of children's books from around the world. There was also the Molson collection of pop-up and moveable books. And the Clarke staff has made it a mission to add award-winning and notable books to an already wonderful collection.

Visit the exhibit to see some of the finest examples of children's books and original book illustrations in the Clarke's holdings. You'll also learn about the decades of efforts to bring these enchanting pieces to Central Michigan University.

On exhibit in the Clarke Historical Library through December 2024.

Online Exhibitions

​Drawing from the Clarke Historical Library’s many and diverse resources, online exhibits and digital collections showcase the history of Michigan and the Great Lakes region. The mix of primary source material and interpretation allows everyone to learn more about our shared cultural heritage.

Traveling Exhibitions

​Some exhibits that have been prepared by the Clarke Historical Library staff are available for loan. Traveling exhibits are available on the following topics:

The exhibits may be borrowed without direct cost. The borrower is responsible for transportation of the exhibit from Mt. Pleasant to the exhibit site, as well as for returning the material when the loan is completed, insurance of the items while on loan, and, in the case of original material, ensuring proper preservation standards and appropriate security precautions are in place.

For additional information about borrowing an exhibit, please call 989-774-3352.