The Tabb Center supports the development of exhibitions, immersive theater experiences, and online explorations of Special Collections materials.

Nicoletta Darita De La Brown: Be(longing)

Unveiling the Imprint of Black Women Hidden in Plain Sight

November 14 – December 1, 2023
Location: George Peabody Library Reading Room

This nstallation by Baltimore-based artist and Public Humanities Fellow Nicoletta Daríta de la Brown was inspired by her explorations with archival materials related to Ethel Ennis, Billie Holiday, African American real photo postcards, and other special collections at the Johns Hopkins Sheridan Libraries. Through video, photographic self-portraits, and site-specific performance, de la Brown addressed culturally significant and deeply introspective questions: How many Black women are living in archives? What happens to us when we are invisible? How can I feel seen, and safe, as a Black woman? While on view, the installation will be brought to life with performances by the artist.

View the exhibition page on the Sheridan Libraries website

exhibition poster

City People: Black Baltimore in the Photographs of John Clark Mayden

Curated by Dr. Gabrielle Dean and Christina Thomas
Location: George Peabody Library

This exhibition presented over fifty of John Clark Mayden’s black-and-white street portraits taken since the 1970s, many on view for the first time. These photographs capture the ordinary joys and sorrows, quiet moments, and daily realities of Baltimore’s African American neighborhoods. Through careful observation and local understanding, Mayden lays bare the beauty and heartbreak of everyday life, Black life, in an American city. The exhibit was accompanied by a new publication from the Johns Hopkins University Press.

View the exhibition page on the Sheridan Libraries website

Read the City People Gallery guide

while waiting by John Mayden
"While Waiting"; East Fayette Street, 2008. The Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University. © 2019 John Clark Mayden

American Selfie

Curated by Dr. Jennifer Kingsley, Monika Borkovic, and Lorna Henson
Location: Milton S. Eisenhower Library B-Level Exhibit Space

How did Black Americans take “selfies” in the early twentieth century? This exhibit drew from work in a Program in Museums & Society class to explore intriguing examples of postcard portraits from the Sheridan Libraries’ African American Real Photo Postcard Collection.

Read about American Selfie on HUB

Read about American Selfie on the Sheridan Libraries blog

Lost & Found in the Funhouse: The John Barth Collection

Curated by Dr. Gabrielle Dean
Location: George Peabody Library and online

This exhibition celebrated the American writer John Barth, known for his masterful literary experiments. Barth’s novels and stories are full of surprises, partly because of his inventive story-telling techniques; the exhibition evoked that playful spirit in its design.

View the online exhibition

exhibition poster

Votes & Petticoats: Suffrage Postcards

Curated by Heidi Herr and students
Location: M Level Exhibit Space

The debate over women’s suffrage was among the most popular subjects illustrated on postcards during the start of the twentieth century. This exhibition featured nearly fifty postcards drawn from Special Collections that represent the visual culture surrounding the Votes for Women campaign. The culmination of an undergraduate learning course, the installation was presented as part of Johns Hopkins University’s Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemoration.

View Online Exhibition

See Also 

Curated by Submersive Productions
Location: George Peabody Library

See Also was an immersive theater experience created by Submersive Productions at the George Peabody Library. Following threads (both figurative and literal) around the Library in a choose-your-own-adventure style, participants encountered visual art, soundscapes, and performers portraying characters based on historical women and non-binary individuals from the collections of the Johns Hopkins Sheridan Libraries and University Museums.

Watch excerpts from the performance

Queer Times: A Virtual Exploration of Queer Media

Curated by Dr. Joseph Plaster and Darius Irani
Location: Online

At this interactive event, held on the online Gather platform, attendees chose a digital avatar and explored virtual “rooms” stocked with materials from the Sheridan Library’s LGBTQ collections, Baltimore-specific queer print media, and news articles from the 1930s. Special guests led participants in a conversation about these archival treasures and introduced participants to archival methods.

Read about Queer Times in the JHU News-Letter

Romancing the Comic Book

Curated by Heidi Herr and students 
Location: online

Students enrolled in Romancing the Comic Book (Intersession 2021) learned how comic books transformed from a much-mocked genre to an essential artifact that reveals a great deal about mid-century American culture. Each class session incorporated hands-on activities with our collections. Students collaborated on an online exhibition that showcases the genre’s history.

View the online exhibition

The Spirit of ’68

Curated by Dr. Gabrielle Dean and Donald Juedes
Location: Milton S. Eisenhower Library M-Level Exhibit Space

1968 was marked by war and protest, tragedy and revolution—a year around which a whole era of political turmoil, cultural change, and social unrest turned. This exhibition examined some of the many explosive events of 1968 and the period around this pivotal year. The photographs, posters, pamphlets, books, film footage, and archival documents on display focused on the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the “Holy Week Uprisings” that followed in Baltimore; student activism on the Johns Hopkins campus; and Vietnam War propaganda.

Read about the exhibition on the Sheridan Libraries blog