The Wiener Library’s travelling exhibitions

Katy Jackson, 16.02.2015
Marketing and delivering free exhibitions to other venues
The Wiener Library in London holds Britain’s largest archives relating to the Holocaust and Nazi era. The collections include 70,000 books, 17,000 photographs, and 1,500 document collections.

While the archives are open to everyone for research and learning purposes, we are aware that many audiences are not able to come to the library to access these.

To address this, we are due to launch some new online resources. And, since the early 2000s, our travelling exhibitions have been a low-cost and effective way to take our collections to audiences.

We have developed three exhibitions on different themes: Child Refugees: five portraits of the Kindertransport; Rescues of the Holocaust: Remember Raoul Wallenberg and Lives Saved; and Never Again? Thinking about the Holocaust.

Each exhibition consists of five roller banners, which are easily erected by two people in about 15 minutes. The carry cases containing the panels can be transported in the back of a car.

The exhibitions are free to hire, requiring a £250 refundable deposit, and the hirer organises the collection and return of the exhibition.

We use direct marketing, social media and word-of-mouth to raise awareness of the exhibitions, and most venues that hire them come to us.  

The feedback we’ve had from venues that have hired the exhibitions, and visitors, has been very positive. The choice of three themes allows the host venue to have an exhibition based on case studies (Child Refugees), a specific theme (Raoul Wallenberg), or one that challenges visitors to think critically about the subject (Never Again?).

We’ve only had one negative experience: a courier managed to lose a panel on the way from Liverpool to London. We still haven’t got it back, so there’s a Wiener Library exhibition panel floating around a postal depot in Liverpool somewhere.

We had to reprint the panel, but that was covered by the deposit, and the hirer was able to claim back some of the cost from the courier.

In the past, museums, libraries, schools, synagogues, universities, offices, churches and even a military base have hired our exhibitions.

Our busiest period of hire is January and February around Holocaust Memorial Day, but they are available throughout the year. Most hirers will use the exhibit as part of their own organised activities and we’re here to support the hirers with extra resources if needed.

Katy Jackson is the community and outreach officer for the Wiener Library. Email for more information about the travelling exhibitions