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Milestones of Science Exhibit

Milestones of Science: Books that Shook the World!

Rare & First Edition Book exhibition Opens for Public Viewing,

Free at Downtown Central Library

Milestones of Science: Books that Shook the World!, a new exhibition featuring books by the most influential innovators in the history of science including Aristotle, Isaac Newton, Leonardo da Vinci, and Charles Darwin, among other world renowned inventors and scientists, is now open to the public at the downtown Central Library, 1 Lafayette Square.

The free exhibit, available for viewing during all regular library hours, highlights the significance of the scientists and their revolutionary ideas as well as the Buffalo story of how the books were obtained more than 75 years ago.

Thirty-five  Milestones books from the collection of 197 titles are featured in the largest ever Library exhibition which will be on display for two years in the newly renovated “Collections Gallery” on the second floor of Central Library.  Segmented by science theme – Astronomy, Biology, Botany, Classical Science, Chemistry, Geography, Geology, Math & Physics, Medicine, and Technology, the highlighted books, extremely rare and some several hundred years old, are foundational to today’s science and the world around us.  

“This is a groundbreaking event for the Library and the community,” said Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Director Mary Jean Jakubowski.  “These extraordinary works showcase the life-changing, and often controversial ideas that literally changed the world, often at considerable cost to their authors.  The books on display represent the history of publishing as well – with Gutenberg’s 1439 innovation of the printing press making it possible for a wider audience to read these ideas for the first time.” 

While the individual works in the Milestones collection are readily available in other collections and online, this collection and the Buffalo story could likely not be replicated today for any price.

Assembled during the Depression in 1938 by Buffalo Museum of Science President Chauncey Hamlin, the collection was purchased book by book through a brilliant fundraising strategy. Hamlin appealed to Buffalo’s ethnic groups to help pay for the works written by their fellow countrymen.  The Milestones collection therefore was a source of community pride for many years. Milestones of Science came to the Library in the mid-1990s as the result of an innovative trade with the Science Museum, which kept the collection intact as a unique resource for our region.

Alongside the magnificent books on display are attractive graphics, interactive activity stations, representative props,  and wall panels to further illuminate the presented information.   Also in the gallery space is an all-ages interactive area called The STEM Education Center, where games, videos, and program stations amplify themes presented in the exhibition.   

Special programming packages for school groups and youth organizations have been devised for this exhibition and are offered free. For further information contact Librarian Kathy Galvin at 716-858-7100 or galvink@buffalolib.org.

“Starting in early 2016, the Library will offer a variety of free all-ages programs highlighting the many scientists, inventions and innovations going on across Western New York today through emerging initiatives at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the University at Buffalo, and private industry,” stated Library Director Jakubowski.  Click here for the current programs schedule: http://tinyurl.com/pgqorsn .

Milestones of Science: Books that Shook the World! is free and open to the public during all regular library hours.   Free guided public tours are available every Saturday at 2 p.m.  Self guided tours can be taken at any time using a personal device and QR code application.  For more details visit: http://www.buffalolib.org/content/milestones-science or call: 716-858-8900.

The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library gratefully acknowledges the generous sponsors of the Milestones of Science exhibition:

Library Foundation of Buffalo & Erie County

Estate of Nicholas Bodnar


Corinne & Victor Rice

Buffalo Business First

The Buffalo News

KISS 98.5


STAR 102.5


The Baird Foundation

Buffalo Spree Publishing, Inc.

Hadley Exhibits Inc.


Crowley Webb

William S. Hein & Co., Inc.

Donald MacDavid Charitable Trust

Arlene & Ruth Mathews Fund at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

National Grid

Weissman Family Foundation

Janet & Wayne Wisbaum


Praxair, Inc.

Julian R. & Varue W. Oishei Foundation



Buffalo Museum of Science

Buffalo History Museum

University at Buffalo

Anne Conable

Homeopathic Healers

Mary Jean & Lawrence Jakubowski

Rand Capital Corporation

riverrun-NA, Inc.

Testa-Cinquino Family

Scott A. Wood

Print Plus, Inc.