I See Wonder: Guiding Inquiry and Expanding Access

This post was written by Victoria Cunningham, summer intern in the Smithsonian Libraries’ Education office. This summer I had the pleasure of working on a team of interns under the direction of Education Specialist Sara Cardello to further expand the I See Wonder collection for the Smithsonian Libraries. I See Wonder is an excellent tool for teachers of all grades to help further extend students’ natural curiosity of the world. Children and more »

Native Fruit: Cranberry for all Seasons

Is there a food in North America more intrinsically linked with the landscape of the past and nostalgically intertwined with a holiday feast than the cranberry? From Cranberry Lakes in Nova Scotia, Cranberry River of West Virginia, Cranberry Pond in Sunderland, Massachusetts, the Cranberry Isles of Maine, Cranberry Mountain in New York, Cranberry Meadow in New Jersey, and many a Cranberry Bog dotting coastal areas, the plant deserves the appellation of First more »

The Fix: Treating Historic Sheet Music

Earlier this year, two music manuscripts arrived in the book conservation lab from the Dibner Library for the History of Science and Technology. These two small items, James Bishop’s musical Gamut of 1766, and Uri Bishop’s Military Music from the War of 1812, were part of a donation earlier in the year by James L. Cerruti and his sister Vera V. Magruder. The generous gift was featured in a Smithsonian Libraries blog more »

It’s Your Deal. Five Card Stud, or… Whist?

  The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Library owns books like Researches into the history of playing cards (1816) that support research into the objects in the museum’s curatorial departments.  In studying this book, I was able to make a connection between the book illustrations and some playing cards in the Cooper Hewitt Museum’s Drawings & Prints collections.  This book is an in-depth research into the history of playing cards, with black more »

Eating, as an Art

  Beautifully produced but small, the cookbook Home at the Range with George Rector packs a lot of material culture in its 140 pages. Anything but stuffy, this culinary artifact of 1939 evokes America trying to shake off its Depression-era hardships. It reveals a longing for European sophistication while evoking New York City in the livelier era before Prohibition. It displays the development of consumer interest more in style than a recipe. more »

Porcelain Designs as Propaganda

This extremely rare 1940 trade catalog the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum Library,  Katalog farforu fa︠i︡ansu i maĭoliky, represents the production of not any one company. It is the output of 10 state-owned ceramics factories all over the Ukraine in small towns and villages, after industry was nationalized in 1918. This is a primary source document for the decorative arts and for studying the material culture and political history of the Ukraine and more »

Guarding the Graves

Cemeteries use a variety of styles to mark graves. The gravestones might be upright or flat. Sometimes both a headstone and footstone mark the grave or a monument might stand at the spot. If you had walked into a cemetery in the late 19th century, what would you have expected to find? Maybe you would have run into a grave guard.

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