Kislak Center at the University of Miami

Home of Special Collections and University Archives


Our vast wealth of research resources come to life at the state-of-the-art gallery space in the Kislak Center. Throughout the year, the Center hosts exhibitions that highlight our distinctive collections, showcase the works of UM students and faculty, and serve as companion pieces for our events.


On View

The Gallery at the Kislak Center (mezzanine)

  • Open New Worlds: A Journey Through the Kislak Collection | May 2019 – ongoing

“Open New Worlds: A Journey Through the Kislak Collection” is the inaugural exhibition at the Gallery at the Kislak Center, which celebrates the vision and generosity of Jay I. Kislak and his 2016 landmark gift to the University of Miami, the Jay I. Kislak Collection of the Early Americas, Exploration and Navigation. Mr. Kislak’s passion for assembling this collection embodied his adventurous spirit and tireless curiosity. He spent more than 60 years committed to gathering primary source materials that span more than three millennia with a vision to assemble a collection that tells the story of the Americas. The University of Miami, together with Miami Dade College, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Library of Congress are the caretakers of his legacy as a collector.

“Open New Worlds” highlights a diverse spectrum of over one hundred materials that begins with the indigenous peoples and proceeds through the historical encounters and cultural collisions that continue to shape our present-day society. With the items on view, one can see how Mr. Kislak’s interests and instincts inspired him to assemble the broadest array of artifacts imaginable including, among many dozens of other rare and unique items, a three-thousand-year-old Olmec cup, a 1493 printing of Christopher Columbus’ letter describing his astonishing discovery, a manuscript record of Marinus Willet’s travels through Cherokee territory to the Creek Nation, and Thomas Edison’s wax cylinder recording of Ernest Shackleton describing his South Polar Expedition. The exhibition is an ideal entry point to the bounteous array of significant primary research material available in Special Collections to faculty, students, and researchers from around the globe.

Explore the Jay I. Kislak Collection of the Early Americas, Exploration and Navigation in the Libraries’ Digital Collections.

Virtual tour of “Open New Worlds”

Explore highlights from this exhibition by clicking the play button below. Start at the entrance of the Gallery at the Kislak Center and click the directional circles along the floor and walls to virtually browse the selections on your device. Navigate to individual items on display and click the “target” icon to learn more about that item.