Current Exhibit The Pull of Horses on National and Local Histories and Identities

January 23 - March 29, 2020

The Pull of Horses on National and Local Histories and Identities (January 23 - March 29, 2020)

Virtual Exhibit: The Pull of Horses


NOTE: Though the Main Library Gallery is closed due to COVID-19, The Pull of Horses on National and Local Histories and Identities is available to see online! Click the button above to visit the virtual exhibit. While not all of the items are available to view closely, we hope that you will enjoy this celebration of our most recent exhibition.

Many thanks to Barry Phipps for the documentation photography, which made this possible, and to Dr. Kim Marra for providing narrative text.

Watch the original documentary online: The Pull of Horses in Urban American Performance, 1860-1920. Closed captioning is included.


Curated by Kim Marra, PhD of the University of Iowa Departments of Theatre Arts and American Studies, and Mark Anderson of the Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio at the University of Iowa Libraries.

Originally on display from January 23 – March 29 in the Main Library Gallery.

Along with our ancestors, horses helped build Iowa City, the state, and the nation. In the process, they profoundly shaped human identities. This exhibition explores the physical and social impact of these huge, powerful animals by screening the original documentary film The Pull of Horses in Urban American Performance, 1860-1920 at life-sized scale amid displays of local equine history. The exhibition contains glimpses of Iowa City town and campus life, as well as national equestrian culture – especially as multitudes of women took up the sport of riding and advocated for suffrage. Original and reproduction publications, photographs, artifacts, and ephemera from Special Collections at the University of Iowa Libraries, the State Historical Society of Iowa, and from private collections will share a sampling of stories about life alongside horses from Iowa City’s, and the nation’s, past.

Object guides describing the details of each item on display are available for visitors in the Main Library Gallery. In the virtual exhibit, narrative and object explanations from the guide are provided online.

Many thanks to our exhibit and event sponsors for their support: Friends of the University of Iowa Libraries, Arts and Humanities Initiative, the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, the University of Iowa Theatre Arts Department, and the University of Iowa Department of American Studies.

Virtual Exhibit: The Pull of Horses