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Get Involved: Host NLM Traveling Exhibitions

Apply for an NLM Traveling Exhibition

Each year, hundreds of libraries and cultural institutions across the U.S. and around the world host NLM traveling exhibitions.

These roll–up displays present inspiring stories about history, society, and medicine drawn from the world–renowned collections of the NLM and help connect visitors to the NLM's trusted health information resources. They are available to host free of charge.

NLM traveling exhibitions provide unique opportunities to

  • verse your community in NLM offerings like MedlinePlus and PubMed.
  • partner with your local Network of National Library of Medicine (NNLM) members for support and collaboration.
  • publicize your institution through programming and activities that incorporate NLM offerings.
  • establish community partnerships and share NLM health information resources with partner institutions.
  • use NLM offerings to foster health literacy in your community.

For more information, join the NLM Traveling Exhibitions listserv.

How to Apply

First, join the NLM Traveling Exhibitions listserv to receive notification when the opportunity to apply for an exhibition opens up. Then, follow these steps.

  1. Begin planning for the application process.
    Refer to the Schedule of Upcoming Traveling Exhibitions to identify titles relevant to your community's interests. Consider public programming ideas that will connect your community to NLM health information resources and complement the exhibition(s) you hope to host.
  2. Once you receive a listserv post announcing the opportunity to apply for an exhibition and determine that you are interested, download the application attached to the email.
  3. Read over the instructions and exhibition title in the announcement. You may apply for any or all of the exhibitions listed in the email.
  4. Complete an NLM Traveling Exhibition Application for each exhibition you'd like to host.
    In your application(s), describe the programming plans, partnerships, and outreach strategies you will use to showcase NLM health information resources while hosting the traveling exhibition.
    For your reference, here is a sample NLM Traveling Exhibition Application. Below, you’ll find programming ideas that highlight NLM health information resources. They serve as examples of the types of programs and activities that could complement a traveling exhibition depending on your community’s needs and institutional resources.
  5. Submit your completed NLM Traveling Exhibition Application(s) to NLMExhibitionApplications@nih.gov. You will receive a confirmation email.
  6. Next Steps
    NLM will select 14 host sites based on the quality of public programming plans described in the applications and post the confirmed itineraries on the listserv after confirming with the selected host venues.
    Note: You will not receive notification if NLM does not select your application.

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Schedule of Upcoming NLM Traveling Exhibitions

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  • October

    • Care and Custody: Past Responses to Mental Health

      Over the past 200 years in the United States, a tension has existed between care and custody as responses to mental health issues. Physicians, psychiatric survivors, families, and government agencies have all shaped mental health policies. Care and Custody examines history to understand how the country has moved away from custodial forms of treatment, sought a more inclusive society, and worked to protect the rights of people with mental health conditions.

      LEARN more about the exhibition.

    • This Lead is Killing Us: A History of Citizens Fighting Lead Poisoning in their Communities

      Lead exposure can cause neurological problems and sometimes even death; yet this metal has been pervasive in many aspects of American life for over a century. Many industries have included lead in their production processes and in products like household paints and gasoline, endangering health. This Lead Is Killing Us: A History of Citizens Fighting Lead Poisoning in Their Communities tells an important story of advocates protecting their communities from the dangers of lead and making their voices heard with industry, housing authorities, and elected officials.

      LEARN more about the exhibition.

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  • February

    • For all the People: A Century of Citizen Action in Health Care Reform

      For All the People: A Century of Citizen Action in Health Care Reform/ Para todo el pueblo: Un siglo de acción ciudadana en la reforma de la atención de la salud

      Often, the public associates health care reform with presidents and national leaders, but communities, workers, activists, and health care professionals have made their voices heard in the debate about whether and how to make quality health care available to all. For All the People/Para todo el pueblo, an English- and Spanish-language, 12-banner exhibition, tells the lesser-known story of how movements of ordinary citizens helped shape the changing American health care system.

    • Making a World of Difference

      Making a World of Difference: Stories about Global Health

      Around the world, communities, in collaboration with scientists, activists, governments, and international organizations, are taking up the challenge to prevent disease and improve quality of life. Making a World of Difference examines stories of the people who are working on a wide range of issues—from community health to conflict, disease to discrimination—to improve health in their areas and beyond.

    May

    • Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine in Harry Potter's World

      Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine in Harry Potter's World

      In 1997, British author J. K. Rowling introduced the world to Harry Potter. Since then, millions of readers have followed Harry’s story. The magic in the Harry Potter novels is based partially on Renaissance traditions that played an important role in the development of Western science, including alchemy, astrology, and natural philosophy. Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine in Harry Potter's World explores the intersection of these worlds in the NLM’s History of Medicine collection.

    • Illustration of people protesting.

      Confronting Violence: Improving Women's Lives/ Enfrentando La Violencia: mejorando la vida de las mujeres

      Activists and reformers in the United States have long recognized the harm of domestic violence and sought to improve the lives of women who were battered. Beginning in the late 1970s, nurses were in the vanguard as they pushed the larger medical community to identify victims, adequately respond to their needs, and work towards the prevention of domestic violence. Confronting Violence/Enfrentando la Violencia, an English- and Spanish-language, 12-banner exhibition explores these developments during latter half of the 20th century, when nurses took up the call.

    July

    • Illustration of people protesting.

      Confronting Violence: Improving Women's Lives

      Activists and reformers in the United States have long recognized the harm of domestic violence and sought to improve the lives of women who were battered. Beginning in the late 1970s, nurses were in the vanguard as they pushed the larger medical community to identify victims, adequately respond to their needs, and work towards the prevention of domestic violence. Confronting Violence, Improving Women’s Lives, the English-only counterpart to the bilingual exhibition, explores the developments during latter half of the 20th century, when nurses took up the call.

    • From DNA To Beer: Harnessing Nature in Medicine and Industry

      From DNA to Beer: Harnessing Nature in Medicine and Industry

      Over the past two centuries, scientists, in partnership with industry, have developed techniques using and modifying life forms like yeast, molds, and bacteria, to create a host of new therapies and produce better foods and beverages. From DNA to Beer: Harnessing Nature in Medicine and Industry explores some of the processes, problems, and potential inherent in technologies that use microorganisms for health and commercial purposes.

    October

    • Historical photograph of numerous people gathered in an encampment

      Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries: African Americans in Civil War Medicine

      During the American Civil War, African Americans overcame prejudices to serve as soldiers, nurses, surgeons, laundresses, cooks, and laborers. Their participation challenged the prescribed notions about race and gender and pushed the boundaries of Blacks’ role in America. Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries: African Americans in Civil War Medicine explores the stories of men and women who came from different backgrounds and life experiences, but whose desire to participate in the cause for freedom transcended class, education, and social position.

    • Detail from Graphic Medicine Exhibition.

      Graphic Medicine: Ill-Conceived and Well-Drawn!

      People have told stories of illness from the perspective of their personal experiences using many mediums. The art of comics, which combines words and pictures, gives approachability and emotional impact to these personal stories, and even to the clinical data they sometimes include. Graphic Medicine: Ill-Conceived and Well Drawn! explores the meaning of an emerging genre of medical literature that combines the art of comics and the personal illness narrative.

    • Opening Doors: Contemporary African American Academic Surgeons

      African Americans have always practiced medicine, as physicians, healers, midwives, or “root doctors.” Early Black physicians became not only skilled practitioners, but also educators and trailblazers, paving the way for future physicians, surgeons, and nurses, as well as improving health care for African American communities. Opening Doors: Contemporary African American Academic Surgeons recognizes this long tradition and those pioneers, by highlighting contemporary surgeons and educators who exemplify excellence in their fields and mentor younger generations of African American physicians.

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  • February

    • Woman at a desk

      The Literature of Prescription: Charlotte Perkings Gilman and “The Yellow Wall–Paper”

      During a time when women were challenging traditional ideas about gender that excluded them from political and intellectual life, artist and writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman rejected these ideas in a terrifying short story titled "The Yellow Wall-Paper.” The Literature of Prescription explores the story behind Gilman’s indictment of the medical profession and the social conventions restricting women’s professional and creative opportunities.

    • Two white men in profile facing each other

      Politics of Yellow Fever in Alexander Hamilton’s America

      In 1793, yellow fever ravaged Philadelphia. Citizens confronted the epidemic in the absence of an effective cure or consensus about the origins of the disease. Medical professionals, early political parties, and private citizens seized on the epidemic to advance their respective agendas. As a result, Philadelphia’s sick and dying received medical care informed as much by politics as by the best available science. Politics of Yellow Fever in Alexander Hamilton’s America considers how science and politics helped determine the response to the 1793 yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia.

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Last Reviewed: October 8, 2020