For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development

Parkway Central Library Invites Families to Explore The Five Senses

Fully Interactive, All-Ages Exhibition Open Through Fall and Shares Programming Across Many Free Library Departments and Neighborhood Libraries

PHILADELPHIA, May 6, 2019—Touch, see, hear, taste, and smell your way through the Free Library of Philadelphia with its newest family-friendly exhibition, Our 5 Senses—an exploration of the senses, the brain, and the literary experience—opening at the Parkway Central Library on May 13.

Award-winning author and illustrator Greg Pizzoli created five characters—one for each sense—to guide families through the exhibition, which will highlight how the Library and books can stimulate the senses at any stage of life. Using art, scratch-and-sniff books, music, and more curated from the Free Library’s Special Collections, Our 5 Senses is unlike any exhibition previously seen at the Free Library.

“We wanted to celebrate and encourage all the ways in which people learn—through their eyes, their ears, by holding a piece of history in their hands, or tasting something they learned to cook,” says Christopher Brown, curator of the Library’s Children’s Literature Research Collection and one of the co-curators of the exhibition, along with Karen Kirsheman, librarian in the Rare Book Department.

“The Library has collections and programs that appeal to all five senses, so we wanted to explore that further, and in a way that would engage with all of our guests, no matter their age,” Kirsheman says.

The exhibition, open through November 2, was inspired by the 1962 picture book My Five Senses by Aliki Brandenberg, which explores how children and adults use their senses to experience and interpret the world around them. Aliki donated original artwork from the book to the Free Library in 1979.

The exhibition will be hosted in Parkway Central’s William B. Dietrich Gallery in the Rare Book Department. It will feature interactive stations for each of the senses, as well as a station honoring Aliki. The exhibition will also be tied into programming throughout the library system, including cooking classes at the Culinary Literacy Center, music and poetry performances, and hands-on workshops creating zines in the Field Teen Center and slime in the Central Children’s Department. For more information about the programs, visit

The Rare Book Department galleries, including the William B. Dietrich Gallery and Our 5 Senses, are open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday. A guided tour of the department’s general collections and the William McIntire Elkins Library is available at 11:00 a.m. every day. For more information about the Rare Book Department, please visit or email To learn more about the Library’s Special Collections, visit


Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850