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Indiana University Bloomington

Exhibitions & Events: Current exhibitions

It is the role of the Lilly Library to stimulate the intellectual curiosity of both the dedicated researcher and the casual visitor. In order to achieve this, the Library promotes a wide range of activities including exhibitions and special events such as poetry readings, musical performances and receptions, as well as lectures, tours, and class presentations.

Main Gallery

Spiritualists, Sorcerers, and Stage Magicians: Magic and the Supernatural at the Lilly Library
June 2 - August 30, 2014

The Lilly Library summer exhibition, "Spiritualists, Sorcerers, and Stage Magicians: Magic and the Supernatural at the Lilly Library," offers a view of how ideas of the occult, the unseen, and the supernatural have persisted and transformed throughout history, from the Middle Ages to the 21st century. Indeed, if popular entertainment is any indication, it seems evident that our interest in ghosts, ghost-hunters, witches, and devils has never really abated, despite the rationalism and disenchantment of the modern age.

Highlights of the exhibition include 17th-century treatises on witchcraft; a wide array of texts representing the complex social networks of spiritualist mediums, stage magicians, and psychical researchers in 19th-century Britain and America; issues from the Lilly's newly-acquired archive of Weird Tales magazine; and correspondence between book collector Montgomery Evans and notorious occultist Aleister Crowley.

Come to the Lilly Library for a special evening starting at 6:00 p.m., on Saturday, June 21. There will be a reception, remarks, and a magic show featuring Steve Bryant, who describes himself as an "obscure magician" and writer with a specialty in card magic. The entire evening, dare we say, will be magical.


Slocum Puzzle Room

"Delightful Deceptions: The Magic of Puzzles"
May 28 - August 20, 2014

Puzzles and stage magic have a parallel history. Some props used in perplexing magic tricks have changed over time into puzzles. A number of puzzle designers are also either stage magicians or designers of magical props. The exhibition Delightful Deceptions focuses on the intersection of puzzle design and stage magic. Some puzzles in this exhibition use visual or cultural cues as a form of misdirection, much like a magician uses misdirection on stage. Other puzzles seem impossible, such as a mirror that seems to be transparent, a bottle full of items too large to fit through the mouth, or a jug with holes around the rim that dares you to take a drink. Also on display are optical illusions that play with human perception in much the same way stage magicians do. Delightful Deceptions will be on display this summer from May 28 to August 20 in the Slocum Room of the Lilly Library.


"A World of Puzzles"

A selection of puzzles from the world's largest collection of mechanical puzzles. Read more about these intriguing objects in the Guide to the Collections: Slocum Puzzle Collection.

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Last updated: 17 June 2014

The Lilly Library, 1200 East Seventh Street, Bloomington, Indiana, 47405-5500   Tel. 812-855-2452  Fax. 812-855-3143

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