Inside the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Collections - Atlas Obscura Experiences
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Inside the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Collections

1 hour
$20 per device
See Dates
$20 per device
$20 per person
See Dates
What We’ll Do

Tucked away in the stacks and study rooms of The New York Public Library (NYPL) you’ll find much more than books. From a lock of Edgar Allan Poe’s hair and Charles Dickens’ cat-paw letter opener, to a collection of personal papers from Dr. Maya Angelou, the Library system is full of fascinating items.

In this online experience, we'll explore some of the most interesting artifacts from the collections of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture! Founded in 1925, the center has grown to encompass 11 million items - from traditional African masks to recordings of hip hop music - that illustrate African American, African Diaspora, and African experiences.

Streaming live from the Schomburg Center in Harlem, this online experience is part of a series from Atlas Obscura and NYPL created in celebration of the brand new Polonsky Exhibition of The New York Public Library’s Treasures. The Polonsky Exhibition is the first permanent exhibition to showcase highlights from the Library’s collections of more than 46 million items. In this series, we’ll take a deep dive into those individual collections and explore rare literary artifacts and ephemera from the Library’s hidden corners that most people never get to see. Join us as we go behind the scenes to explore obscure personal artifacts of famous authors, legendary texts, forgotten menus, and so much more!


Where We’ll Be


About Your Host
Joy Bivins
Joy Bivins

Joy Bivins, was named the Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in June 2021. Bivins joined the Schomburg — a division of the New York Public Library and a leading repository for archival materials related to African, African diaspora and African American life, history and culture — in 2020 as an Associate Director of Collections and Research Services. Previously she served as the Chief Curator of the International African American Museum, in Charleston, S.C., and the Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Chicago History Museum. Ms. Bivins has nearly two decades of expert leadership and extensive curatorial knowledge in the art and culture of the African Diaspora and holds degrees from the University of Michigan and Cornell University. She is a proud native of the south side of Chicago.

What Else You Should Know

Once registered, you can access the Zoom room for this experience through your confirmation email or Eventbrite account. Atlas Obscura online experiences are recommended for attendees age 13+.

This Online Experience will be recorded. A temporary link to the recording will be provided in a follow-up email to all ticket holders within 72 hours after the event. Access to this recording will be available for seven days.

We provide closed captioning for all of our Online Experiences, as well as transcripts upon request. Please reach out to us at if you have any questions, requests, or access needs.

This event is one of Atlas Obscura’s Online Experiences. At Atlas Obscura, our mission has always been to inspire wonder and curiosity about the incredible world we all share. Now, more than ever, there’s a need to stay connected—not only to our sense of wonder, but to each other.

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Dates and Availability

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