National Library of Medicine to support 40 additional sites for Frankenstein traveling exhibition

Contact: Laura Hayes


For Immediate Release

May 21, 2002

National Library of Medicine to support 40 additional sites for Frankenstein traveling exhibition

Originally scheduled to visit 40 libraries across the country, the "Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature" traveling exhibition will now tour to 82 sites through a grant from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) to the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) funded a tour to 40 libraries, plus two additional sites through shared grants, in September 2001. After more than 150 applications were received from libraries wishing to host the exhibit, the NLM allocated funds to extend the grant to an additional 40 libraries.

The additional NLM funds also provide support for a planning seminar for all libraries hosting the exhibit. The exhibit coordinator from each participating library will attend a planning seminar at the NLM in Bethesda, Md., June 6-8, 2002. The seminar includes presentations on the major themes of the exhibit; walk-through of the exhibit and viewing of original source materials, discussion of exhibit set-up procedures; and presentations on developing, publicizing and fund-raising for educational programs related to the exhibition.

"We are glad we are able to provide this opportunity to many more communities than planned," said Donald A.B. Lindberg, M.D., NLM director. "Through funding from both the NEH and NLM, hundreds of thousands of people will be able to view the exhibit and participate in educational programs that explore Mary Shelley's novel, "Frankenstein," and its evolution in literature, culture and science in the last two centuries."

Starting in October 2002, "Frankenstein" will visit 38 states over a three-year period. Libraries on the tour will host the exhibit for six weeks. All showings of the exhibition and related programs will be free and open to the public.

"We are very excited to receive this additional funding from the NLM," said ALA President John W. Berry. "This brings 'Frankenstein' alive for 40 additional communities and gives us an opportunity to provide a planning seminar for exhibit hosts."

"Frankenstein" is based on a larger exhibit of the same name, which was created by the NLM and displayed from 1997 to 1998 at the NLM. The traveling exhibit maintains many of the larger exhibition's themes, including examining the transformation of the monster from Shelley's rational and articulate creature who is curious about the world and seeks human relationships, to the speechless murderer of later plays and films based on the book. A major theme of the exhibit is how the "Frankenstein" story has been used as a framework to express society's fears about the consequences of scientific advances, such as cloning, which challenges our traditional understanding of what it means to be human.

"Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature" is organized by the NLM and ALA Public Programs Office with major grants from the NEH and NLM.

The ALA Public Programs Office fosters cultural programming by libraries of all types. Established in 1990, the office helps thousands of libraries nationwide develop and host programs that encourage dialogue among community members and works to establish libraries as cultural centers in their communities.

For more information about "Frankenstein: Penetrating the Secrets of Nature," please visit