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New Mingei Exhibition Celebrates The Art Of The Book

A page from the Nuremberg Chronicle by Hartmann Schedel, 1493, from the collection of special collections and archives at the University of San Diego in an undated photo.
Mingei International Museum
A page from the Nuremberg Chronicle by Hartmann Schedel, 1493, from the collection of special collections and archives at the University of San Diego in an undated photo.
New Mingei Exhibition Celebrates The Art Of The Book
New Mingei Exhibition Celebrates The Art Of The Book GUESTS: Rob Sidner, curator and executive director, Mingei International Museum Lynda Claassen, director of special collections and archives, UC San Diego Library

>>> I Michael Lipkin in for Maureen Cavanaugh. Voluminous art treasures from San Diego's University libraries celebrate the art of the book. The museum teamed up with San Diego State University, UC San Diego to showcase works that date back to the 17th century -- 13th-century. Joining me is director of the museum. And Linda is director of archives that you see LA library. >> Thank you. >> The beauty of the rare book is at the center of the exhibit. Rob Cardwell does it take to make a book rare? Is it just old? >> I didn't even think of this as rare books but wonderful books. They are all rare in some way but they are special at least and they are in special collections but for some of them are not small edition Scott they were done in huge additions but there is something very special about them that makes them be held apart in the special collections of each of the libraries and that's what I wanted to highlight. >> Linda are the books that are readily available? >> In the exhibition yes that is true like some comic books and I think one from our collection, the Dorsey book is easily accessible but those are not unique, it's just the only option known. >> The only is PTSD a 13th-century manuscript book about spelling and how to spell properly. There is a fabulous early illustrated book, a very large book printed in 1493, the first illustrated history of the world cut done day year after Columbus sailed and doesn't include any of that part. I suspect Rob will talk more about that later because I know he loves that. >> This particular book is written on skin, on animal skin. It is a small book and is actually not in the world's sense but it is all handwritten in different colors of ink. >> In addition of Moby Dick done in the 70s, with -- it was a full year addition. >> This is the first time they have partnered with the University libraries, why now? >> The idea for it never gelled Kevin I thought there are a few wonderful libraries are here Golinda had taken the whole staff through the special collections and I think that is what really sued the seed of this particular exhibition. It seemed the right thing to do to draw attention to these three wonderful collections that are so little known beyond the university's inner circles that not even all students know about them at all. They are all available to all of the citizens in San Diego. >> Part of this is Dr. Seuss. >> Yes an original drawing of his and the book in which the drawing appeared. >> That's the first book I read as a kid. >> It's glorious and we have the drawing of the last page of the book. Walking hand-in-hand with the king wearing to 500 had splendid and proud of himself. >> Public libraries don't just have books, they have works of art that are not books and pieces of technology, lots of data . >>> What is the mood towards the digital data mean. >> It's a way to share materials far more easily and make the materials more accessible to a huge number of people. We have been trying to digitize a lot of our materials, the manuscript material is unique to making that widely available, it's hard for scholars to have to find funds to keep traveling from location to location to look at things so digitizing these materials is a way to make them more readily available. >> Is the more value? Is it worth it to keep the physical object? >> Yes there is a lot of artifactual value in the object of the book that even an early printed book almost every printed book is different from the others. There might be annotations and lots of scholars still want to see the original. They are wonderful materials to use in teaching, which often are Revelation that a graduation to things like this existing. >> There is nothing like the pleasure of being able to hold a physical book in your hand to open it from the cover and turning individual pages and discovering what is inside their. It's a very special treat which art museums are all about in saying that we are completely in favor of all digital reproductions of things but nothing like having the real thing in front of you to encounter. >> In this exhibit they will all be in black -- behind glass cases. >> Any advice for asked -- aspiring book collectors? >> It depends on what they are collecting. It doesn't have to be a lot of money depending on what you decide to collect. >> I don't think I need to give any advice. I think the encounter with the books will inspire any person who comes to the show and we have been experiencing that already. Kids, adults and everyone in between are having a lot of fun with the show. >> Are there any particular messages you want the public to take away from this collection? >> I think the exhibition demonstrates how much the three universities to and I am playing on something Rob said a few moments ago, how much we are committed to sharing these materials with the community. It's a way to partner with another local institution that can make a number of those objects and materials available unseen by people who would not be checking to universities to do that. >> A number of educational programs teach something about book are, book binding to actually printing and writing your own book. >> We have a handout for adults and kids in the exhibition. >> Thank you to both of you. >> Thank you.

A new exhibition at San Diego's Mingei International Museum could be a book collector’s dream.

“Voluminous Art: Treasures from San Diego’s University Libraries,” celebrates the art of books.

For the first time in its 40 year history, the museum teamed up with San Diego State University, UC San Diego and the University of San Diego to showcase their special collections which include a book that dates back to the 13th century all the way to modern comic books.


"The oldest book in the exhibition is from UC San Diego and that's a 13th-century manuscript book on spelling and how to spell properly. This particular book is written on animal skin. It's a small book, it's actually not in the greatest condition at this point...and it's all handwritten," said Lynda Claassen, director of special collections and archives at UC San Diego.

There is also a special edition of "Moby Dick" with 100 woodcut illustrations and a Dr. Seuss book with an original drawing by Theodor Geisel.

The exhibition will be on view through September 3.

Rob Sidner, the museum's executive director curated the exhibition. He joins Claassen Thursday on Midday Edition to highlight some of the special collections on display.