The Country’s Largest J.R.R. Tolkien Exhibit Is Open At New York’s Morgan Library & Museum

The largest collection of items and materials from J.R.R. Tolkien’s life has finally come to the states with a debut in NYC. 

“Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth” opened a few weeks ago at The Morgan Library & Museum. The  exhibit for “The Lord of the Rings” creator features items such as “family photographs and memorabilia, Tolkien’s original illustrations, maps, draft manuscripts, and designs related to The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.”

© The Tolkien Estate Limited 1937, via Morgan Library & Museum
J. R. R. Tolkien (1892–1973), Bilbo comes to the Huts of the Raft-elves, July 1937, watercolor, pencil, white body color. Bodleian Libraries, MS. Tolkien Drawings 29. © The Tolkien Estate Limited 1937, via Morgan Library & Museum

As the library describes it: 

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” With these words the Oxford professor J.R.R. Tolkien ignited a fervid spark in generations of readers. From the children’s classic The Hobbit to the epic The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s adventurous tales of hobbits and elves, dwarves and wizards have introduced millions to the rich history of Middle-earth. Going beyond literature, Tolkien’s Middle-earth is a world complete with its own languages and histories. Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth celebrates the man and his creation.

J. R. R. Tolkien (1892–1973), Conversation with Smaug, July 1937, black and colored ink, watercolor, white body color, pencil. Bodleian Libraries, MS. Tolkien Drawings 30. © The Tolkien Estate Limited 1937, via Morgan Library & Museum
J. R. R. Tolkien (1892–1973), Conversation with Smaug, July 1937, black and colored ink, watercolor, white body color, pencil. Bodleian Libraries, MS. Tolkien Drawings 30. © The Tolkien Estate Limited 1937, via Morgan Library & Museum

It is the most extensive public display of his materials in several generations. The 117 items on display are borrowed from the Tolkien Archive collections at Oxford’s Bodleian Library, as well as Milwaukee’s Marquette University Libraries, the Morgan, and private lenders. The library’s associate curator, John McQuillen, told amNY in an interview, “It’s as if we are looking over his shoulder while he composes and illustrates his vision of Middle-earth. We get a glimpse into the moments in the creation of the narrative, such as when he changes the wizard’s name to Gandalf or suddenly comes up with the idea of the One Ring.”

The exhibit will be on display until May 12, with admission available on a first-come first-served basis. The museum is not allowing for advanced admission sales for this particular exhibit; however, costumes are permitted! So get your favorite character’s costume ready! 

What: Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth

Where: The Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Avenue

Tickets: $20, and free on Fridays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. (although free entry is not guaranteed due to space restrictions)

featured image source: © The Tolkien Estate Limited 1937, via Morgan Library & Museum


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