For more than 125 years, The New York Public Library has collected, preserved, and made accessible the world’s knowledge. Now, for the first time, the Polonsky Exhibition of The New York Public Library’s Treasures showcases some of the most extraordinary items from the 56 million in our collections, inspiring and empowering visitors to discover, learn, and create new knowledge—today and in the years ahead.

The treasures in this exhibition tell the stories of people, places, and moments spanning 4,000 years—from the emergence of the written word through to the present day. Visitors will encounter manuscripts, artworks, letters, still and moving images, recordings, and more that bring vividly to life voices of the past. While the Library’s collections have always been available for public use, the Polonsky Exhibition builds on our 125-year legacy by offering a unique opportunity to make new connections and expand our understanding of the world and each other—so that together we can shape a better future.

Plan Your Visit

Marble lion statue in front of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, which is displaying a Treasures-themed banner in the background.

Get the most out of your visit to the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, and find out what you need to know about what to bring with you, how to get here, accessibility, and exploring the Library. Learn more.

Treasures: Audio Guide

Hand holds headphones and an iPhone that shows the Treasures Audio Guide on the screen.

Discover highlights of the Polonsky Exhibition with the free Treasures Audio Guide, accessible onsite or from anywhere on your mobile device. Don’t forget your headphones!

NEW! Access the Digital Guide on Bloomberg Connects

A woman in glasses and a black face mask holds her phone up while looking into a display case with Washington's farewell address.

Explore the full exhibition, accompanying audio guide, and more on Bloomberg Connects, the free arts and culture app. Learn more.

Highlights from the Exhibition

Close-up of the top half of a creased, handwritten page that reads: A Declaration of the Representatives of the United States of America in General Congress assembled.
Thomas Jefferson, fair copy of the Declaration of Independence, 1776, Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library.
Listen to Audio
A painted portrait of a white woman who sits slightly at an angle while looking over her right shoulder
Portrait of Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–1797), John Keenan (fl. 1791–1815), 1804, after ca. 1797 portrait by John Opie (1761–1807)
View this item Listen to audio guide
An old yellowed piece of paper with light script running across the page
Bill of Rights, United States Congress (New York), 1789
Two cylinders sitting within a brown background. The cylinder on the left is solid brown, and the one on the right is slightly lighter and larger with the image of a man's face on it
Lionel Mapleson (1865–1937), Early opera recordings on wax cylinders, 1900–1904
A sepia photograph of a young woman dressed in Indian garb. Her left hand rests on her hip and her right elbow rests atop a plush chair with a high back
Darogha Ubbas Alli, Juddan Dancing Girl from Beauties of Lucknow, Calcutta, 1874
Colorful poster of a woman in theatrical garb, with a cape and a sword in a hilt, set against an ornate background
Alphonse Mucha (1860–1939), Poster for the Thêàtre de Sarah Bernhardt production of Tragique Histoire d’Hamlet, Prince de Danemark - Sarah Bernhardt, 1899
A black and white photograph of a Black man and woman. The man is in the foreground holding a saxophone in his lap with his right fist resting in front of his face. The woman is in the background in less clear focus
Portrait of John and Alice Coltrane by Chuck Stewart, 1966
View in exhibition
Close-up of a large book opened to a page featuring two columns of decorated text and gothic type, with hand-written notes in the margins.
Johannes Gutenberg, Biblia Latina, 1455, Rare Books Division, The New York Public Library.
Detail of frontispiece of Shakespeare's portfolio showing an engraving of the author in 17th-century dress. Above it reads: Published according to the true original copies.
Original stuffed animals Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Kanga, Piglet, and Tigger
Winnie-the-Pooh and Friends, ca. 1921

The Library Shop

Photo of an upright book called Treasures of The New York Public Library, propped up next to a gold lamp on a table inside of the Rose Main Reading Room.

Celebrate the Library’s vast collections with a variety of books and gifts inspired by the Polonsky Exhibition, including Treasures of The New York Public Library, a beautifully illustrated book showcasing the depth and breadth of the Library’s holdings. Show your timed ticket at The New York Public Library Shop to receive a one-time 10% discount off your purchase. Shop online.

Free Author Talks & Programs

Dark blue background with logos for LIVE from NYPL and Polonsky Exhibition of The New York Public Library's Treasures

LIVE from NYPL—the Library’s premier cultural series—brings together distinguished writers, artists, and scholars for conversations and performances. Join us for special events exploring the extraordinary items you can find in the Polonsky Exhibition. Learn more.

Research at NYPL

Photo of the Rose Main Reading Room from a low perspective that shows an ornate ceiling, large arched windows, chandeliers, and rows of wooden tables.

With our expansive historic collections, expert librarians, and a variety of fellowships and learning opportunities available, The New York Public Library is an invaluable resource for writers, scholars, students, and creators worldwide. Learn more.

More to Explore

Glass door showing the Treasures logo in gold text.

Discover resources to accompany exhibition displays, delve into Treasures audio and digital guides, learn about upcoming events, and more. Explore. 

Support the Library

Marble lion statue in front of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, which has two red banners.

Our collections, programs, and resources are made freely available to New Yorkers thanks to contributions from supporters like you. Become a member today and enjoy exclusive benefits, including special access to the Polonsky Exhibition, behind-the-scenes access to our collections, and more. Learn more.

An Interview with Dr. Leonard Polonsky CBE