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The Rare Books and Special Collections Library mounts regular exhibitions of items from its collections, including rare books, photographs, archival documents, maps, artifacts, and audiovisual media including documentary works produced specifically to accompany exhibitions.  Exhibitions are collaborative efforts drawing on the efforts of subject specialists and other staff throughout the library, mounted by the library’s Conservation Laboratory staff with the contribution of a staff member specializing in exhibitions.  Some exhibitions are joint efforts with other units at AUC or outside institutions or individuals.


RBSCL exhibitions are open to the public and free of charge; please see Visiting the Library to plan your visit.  The RBSCL’s two main exhibition spaces are located near its main entrance, a dedicated exhibition room (the Abdallah S. Jum’ah Room) as well as the library’s entrance foyer.  The Nadia Niazey Mostafa Room, a lecture room, is often used for events associated with exhibitions, and is also used as a display area.  Other display cases throughout the library also feature books, artifacts and other library holdings.

Other locations on the American University in Cairo campus where RBSCL materials are exhibited include The Photographic Gallery (formerly known as The Sony Gallery for Photography) in Abdul Latif Jameel Hall, The Sharjah Art Gallery in AUC’s Center for the Arts, and the foyer of the Main Library building. Library materials are also periodically exhibited in other locations in Cairo like the Cairo Opera House complex, and at venues abroad like the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris and the Deutsches Architektur Museum in Frankfurt. 

Current Exhibitions

Exploring the Rare Books and Special Collections Library: The Hidden Treasures

October 2016 - May 2017

Verdi and Egypt

AUC Sharjah Art Gallery, AUC Main Library

March 2017

Past Exhibitions

Romance in the Egyptian Cinema

AUC Sharjah Art Gallery

January 2017

When Art Becomes Liberty: The Egyptian Surrealists 1938-1965 (Van-Leo portraits)

The Palace of the Arts, Opera House Complex

September - October 2016

Sanduq el-Dunia (The Cairo Wall)

Danish-Egyptian Dialogue Institute, Cairo, various sites

July 2016

Women’s History Archives at AUC’s Rare Book and Special Collections Library

March 2016

The Private Papers of Wedad Mitri: Pioneering Unionist

The Women and Memory Forum Exhibition at RBSCL

March 2016

Palmyra: A Cultural Heritage Going . . . Going?

November 2015 - September 2016

Egypt Stereoviews

The Photographic Gallery (AUC)

October - November 2015

Ex RBSCL Libris: The Golden years of Egyptian cinema, 1936-1967

April 2015 - June 2017

Boutros Boutros-Ghali Collection

February 2015 - June 2017

Echoes II: Photographs from the Collection

The Photographic Gallery (AUC)

December 2014 - January 2015

Treasures in the Archives (Postcards)

AUC Main Library foyer

November - December 2014

Here and Elsewhere (Van-Leo portraits)

New Museum, New York City

July - September 2014

Aziza Hussein: An Egyptian Feminist and a Diplomat

May - June 2014

Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here

March - August 2014

See You at the Movies: Egyptian Cinema Stills 1930s-1970s

The Photographic Gallery (AUC)

March - April 2014


Anis Mansour Collection

March 2014 - January 2015

Sanduq el-Dunia (The Cairo Wall)

Museum of Copenhagen, Denmark

August - September 2013

Rencontres de la photographie (Van-Leo portraits)

Arab Image Foundation (Beirut, Lebanon) entry, Arles, France

July - September 2013

Ex RBSCL Libris:Curtis's Botanical Magazine

March 2013

Studio Viennoise (Van-Leo portraits)

Former Viennoise Hotel, Downtown Cairo

November 2012

Face Time (Van-Leo portraits)
The Photographic Gallery (AUC)

October - November 2012

Van-Leo: A Rare Look

The Photographic Gallery (AUC)

March 2012

Ramses Wissa Wassef: An Exhibition of his Architectural and Artistic Legacy

The Palace of the Arts, Opera House Complex

November 2012

Ramses Wissa Wassef: An Exhibition of his Architectural and Artistic Legacy

February - November 2012

Hassan Fathy, An Egyptian Ambition

Gezira Art Center, Cairo

June 2011

Spotlight on Youssef Chahine: Selections from the Rare Books and Special Collections Library

February 2008 - December 2009

Naguib Mahfouz: Child of the Alley, Writer for the World: An Exhibition of AUC Press Publications, Foreign-Language Editions, and Selections from the Rare Books and Special Collections Library

December 2006 - December 2007

Van-Leo Self Portraits

Brighton Photo Biennial, Brighton, England

October 2006

Cairo and Its People: Selections from the Rare Books and Special Collections Library's Van-Leo and Creswell Collections

September - December 2005

Traumbilder der Architecktur: Gouachen und Zeichnungen von Hassan Fathy (Architectural Visions: Gouaches and Drawings by Hassan Fathy)

Deutsches Architektur Museum, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

February - March 2005

Nubia: Before the Flood

February - March 2005

Kairo Damals und Heute: Mamlukenbauten in den Fotografien von K.A.C. Creswell und im Heutigen Aussehen (Cairo Then and Today: Mamluk Buildings in the Photographs of K.A.C. Creswell and as Seen Today)

Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Pergamonmuseum, Museum für Islamische Kunst, Berlin, Germany

July - September 2005

Hajj: On the Pilgrimage

November - December 2004

Nazar: Photographs from the Arab World

Fries Museum, Leeuwarden, Netherlands

September 2004 - January 2005

Creswell's Cairo: Then and Now: A Joint Exhibition of Photographs from the Creswell Collection and the Islamic Art Network (IAN) Photo Archive

December 2002 - February 2003

Hassan Fathy, Un Architecte Égyptien (Hassan Fathy, An Egyptian Architect)

Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France

December 2002 - February 2003


Berber! An Exhibition of Imazighen Silver: The Jewelry of the "Free People" of North Africa and the Maghreb Postcards of Lehnert & Landrock and their Contemporaries, October - December 2002

Photo Cairo: Van Leo

Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art, Cairo

September - October 2002

Van Leo: Tentation/Temptation

Centre Francais de Culture et de Cooperation, Cairo

April - May 2002

Egypt Described: La Descripton de l'Egypte

February - March 2005

Sacred Rivers: Featuring the Works of Anna Boghiguian

October - November 2001

Van Leo: The Chronology 1940-1969

March - May 2001

ARTAS: Portrait of a Palestinian Village Then and Now

May 2001

Photographs by Van-Leo

Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art, Cairo

December 2000 - January 2001

Hassan Fathy Centennial Exhibition: Selections from the Hassan Fathy Archives

March - July 2000

Islamic Inscriptions: an Exhibition of Illustrations from the Collection Depicting the Varied Uses and Forms of Epigraphic Arts in Islamic Culture

February - May 2000

Going, Going, Gone: Conserving Rare Materials at the RBSCL


Van-Leo: A Moveable Feast

October 1998 - January 1999

Ancient Nubia: The Land and its Legacy

June - September 1997

Glamour as Genre: Portrait Photography of Van Leo

November - December 1996

Animals in Egyptian Art

October - December 1996

Through Others Eyes: An Exhibition on Travelers Accounts of Egyptian Life

March - May 1996


Passage to Eternity: An Exhibition on Ancient Egyptian Funerary Customs and Beliefs

October - December 1995

AUC Building History: Views from the Archives

October 1994 - January 1995

In Search of Blessings: Egypt's Holy Places

May - September 1994

Cairo Revisited

February - May 1994

Joy of Egypt, Exploring the Nile Flood throughout the Ages

October - November 1993

Naguib Mahfouz in Many Languages: An Exhibition of More than 175 Published Translations of the Works of Naguib Mahfouz in over Twenty Languages

February - May 1993

Max Debbane

September - December 1992

The Art of Paper Marbling: History, Samples, Techniques

May - July 1992

Library Hours