A $1.2m donation to transform Cambridge University Library’s exhibitions will allow its priceless treasures to be shared with the world as never before.

Potentially, any book, manuscript, map or photograph can become a virtual exhibit, and the Library will now be able to build a rich gallery of images to do justice to its extraordinary collections.

Anne Jarvis

The gift from the Howard and Abby Milstein Foundation will enable the University Library to reimagine the way in which it displays its collections in both the physical and online worlds.

Officially named yesterday evening by Mr Howard P. Milstein, Chairman of the New York Private Bank and Trust, who visited Cambridge with his wife Abby and their son Michael, the exhibition space now becomes the ‘Milstein Exhibition Centre and Seminar Rooms’.

Work on transforming the Library’s ability to exhibit its collections is already under way with two new exhibition cases placed in the Entrance Hall giving visitors instant access to the UL’s collections and encouraging them to further explore the refurbished exhibition centre which also now includes ‘Turning the Pages’ technology.

University Librarian Anne Jarvis said: “The Milstein’s generous gift is of immense value to the UL as it will facilitate the sharing of the Library’s cultural and educational resources, not just with the Cambridge academic community and visitors, but with the world, through our online exhibitions. Potentially, any book, manuscript, map or photograph can become a virtual exhibit, and the Library will now be able to build a rich gallery of images to do justice to its extraordinary collections.

“The new web space will create the opportunity for the Library to offer new, dynamic and innovative ways to interpret our exhibitions which in the past few years have ranged from Siegfried Sassoon’s archives and Russian design and architecture, to our current exhibition Read All About It: Wrongdoing in Spain and England in the Long Nineteenth Century.”

Before the unveiling of a plaque to mark the official naming, speeches were made by Anne Jarvis, Vice-Chancellor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Michael Milstein and Howard Milstein.

Michael Milstein, who works alongside his father and is an advisor to the Nexus Global Youth Summit, spent six months at Pembroke College studying history as part of his degree course at Cornell University. He spoke of his family’s pride at being able to help the Library achieve its mission of sharing its collections with the widest possible global audience.

His father Howard spoke about continuing his grandfather and father’s legacy of supporting and disseminating knowledge  to as wide an audience as possible.

He said: “Each of us is the inheritor of tradition. I am the inheritor of an intellectual tradition, as is my son. Cambridge’s history goes back 800 years and it is one with which we are now very proud to be associated.”


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