Flora, Fauna, and Mysteriana: a Wright Library exhibit

Feb 21, 2024

A series of 10 exhibition cases, each of which depicts various aspects of humanity’s view of nature through a theological lens, comprise an exciting new exhibit on the main concourse created by Princeton Theological Seminary's department of Special Collections & Archives at Wright Library.

The exhibit, entitled Flora, Fauna, & Mysteriana, presents viewers with visual evidence of how theological and biblical studies overlap and intersect with the natural world.

The books and manuscripts selected for display in this exhibition allow us to demonstrate the important role that imagery, illustration, and visual expression play in the interpretation and understanding of the Bible. In an academic setting such as Princeton Theological Seminary, it is often easy to get lost in the words on the page and the multitudinous language(s) of our faith.

This exhibit is an attempt to bring another “language” into discussion, that of visual language. The items on display here can (and should) be interpreted through the visual medium rather than the textual. It is another way for us to interact with scripture; and a way of combining the theological with the ecological through visual media.

As indicated in its title, the exhibit is separated into three primary areas: depictions of flowers and plants (Flora), depictions of land animals, sea creatures, and birds (Fauna), and depictions of mythical and folkloric beasts (Mysteriana). These three “realms” reflect the Creation story of Genesis (flora and fauna) as well as the creatures of the Apocalypse in the Book of Revelation (mysteriana). We invite you, however, to wander through these realms in any order you desire and explore the beauty and mystery of the world around us.

-- Special Collections & Archives Staff

Image descriptions: photos of 3 of the cases in this exhibition, Mythical Beasts, Serpents, and Dragons; each case has 4 shelves of Special Collections materials on display. The top shelves hold ornate blue and white signs indicating the topic within the case, e.g. Mythical Beasts, Serpents, and Dragons respectively.

photo of a case in this exhibition, Mythical Beasts
photo of a case in this exhibition, Serpents
photo of a case in this exhibition, Dragons