Inside the Milberg Gallery: Sites of Memory - Speculative Futures

The following is the last in a series of inside looks at the current exhibition in Princeton University Library’s Ellen and Leonard Milberg Gallery in Firestone Library - “Toni Morrison: Sites of Memory.” The exhibition closes this Sunday, June 4.

Curated by Autumn Womack, René Boatman, Jennifer Garcon, Kierra Duncan and Andrew Schlager, the exhibition documents Morrison’s creative process through her research materials, manuscript drafts, day planners, and correspondence.

 Bert Andrews

Toni Morrison, 1970. Photographer: Bert Andrews


What if an archive is not where we go for answers, but a site that generates ongoing questions? What if the archive does not clarify a past, but instead illuminates an unrealized future? What if we read the archive for impressions, incomplete gestures, and fragments? What if its grammatical tense is not past, but future, expressing hopes, skepticisms, and dreams?

“Speculative Futures” traces the projects, character arcs, and creative dreams that only live in the archive. Although most of these projects never materialized as final productions or publications, they bear witness to Toni Morrison’s always capacious imagination, to her commitment to creative risk-taking and experimentation. But perhaps most importantly, they bear out a theory of the archive that Morrison’s published novels also express, one that is recurrent, iterative, and always open-ended.

The exhibition is open through June 4, 2023 at the Milberg Gallery in Firestone Library. Please visit the website to view the gallery’s opening hours and for information about how to visit.

Discover more through the Discovering Toni Morrison Digital Princeton University Library Portal.

Published June 1, 2023.

Media Contact: Barbara Valenza, Director of Library Communications