Time Machines – the past, the future, and how stories take us there

27 May – 3 September 2017
Palace Green Library, Durham University

How big is time? And what will the future be like?

Time is something humans have always tried to measure, conceptualise and understand. Visitors to a new exhibition at Durham University’s Palace Green Library are invited to step through a portal and journey through time, discovering how advances in science allowed authors like H.G. Wells to write about parallel universes, alternate histories and future worlds.

The exhibition explores how stories can make us into time travellers and includes H.G. Wells’s original manuscript for The Time Machine. The book, which was published in 1895, remains one of the most important stories in the science fiction and time travel genres and is on loan from the Rare Book and Manuscript Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The Time Machines exhibition also unravels other stories which play with time, including time travel science fiction from the late 19th century to the present day, and demonstrates how writers have used stories to help us make sense of time and our place within it.

Advances in scientific knowledge by the likes of Darwin and Einstein and their influence on literature are explored, as well as human beings’ unique capacity for mental time travel through memory and imagination of the future.

From Washington Irving to Charlotte Perkins Gilman to Kurt Vonnegut to Philip Roth to Octavia Butler to Janelle Monae’s Afrofuturist pop, there’s a strong thread running through the exhibition for those interested in American literature and culture.

Time Machines – the past, the future, and how stories take us there will be on show at Palace Green Library, Durham University from 10am to 5pm, Monday to Sunday, from 27 May to 3 September 2017.

Full details are available at www.durham.ac.uk/palace.green