Spotlight: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library

August 13, 2014

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden was established in 1974 as a beacon of the art of our time. This year, the museum is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a series of exhibitions and projects drawn from and inspired by our expansive library collection including Salvatore Scarpitta: Traveler Days of Endless Time, and Speculative Forms, featuring installations that re-examine key moments and figures in modern and contemporary art. Since its inception, the museum’s library more »

Adopt “Garden scene with dancers”

August 1, 2014

Garden scene with dancers (to be used as the set for a miniature theater) is a peep show (or tunnel book), designed by engraver and print-seller Martin Engelbrecht of Augsburg, Germany (1684-1756). The set includes six 6″ x 8″ hand-colored etched prints on light gray laid paper, with sections carefully cut out to create a perspective view when the prints are arranged in a viewing box.This early and rare example of a more »

The Fall of a Mighty Empire: The Passenger Pigeon

July 21, 2014

The story of the last Passenger Pigeon and the disappearance of the Great Auk, Carolina Parakeet, and Heath Hen reveal the fragile connections between species and their environment. To help tell their story, the Smithsonian Libraries, Biodiversity Heritage Library, and the National Museum of Natural History have curated a joint exhibit entitled Once There Were Billions: Vanished Birds of North America which opened June 24 in the National Museum of Natural History.  Two hundred years ago, the passenger pigeon (Ectopistes more »

Biodiversity Heritage Library Adds Two Members

July 16, 2014

The Biodiversity Heritage Library, headquartered at the Smithsonian Libraries, welcomes the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign, Ill.) and Washington University (St. Louis, Mo.) as new partners. These two institutions will contribute to the digitization of historical science literature in the BHL collections. All material will be online, free, and available to the public.

Modern Extinction: Heath Hen

July 14, 2014

The story of the last Passenger Pigeon and the disappearance of the Great Auk, Carolina Parakeet, and Heath Hen reveal the fragile connections between species and their environment. To help tell their story, the Smithsonian Libraries, Biodiversity Heritage Library, and the National Museum of Natural History have curated a joint exhibit entitled Once There Were Billions: Vanished Birds of North America which opened June 24 in the National Museum of Natural History. 

Adopt Hand blocked wall papers!

July 7, 2014

Zuber et Cie, founded in 1797 by Jean Zuber, is one of the most important manufacturers of hand blocked and scenic wallpapers. In 1804, Zuber produced one of the earliest scenics called “Vue de Suisses,” and they continue to be known for the quality of their wood block printing. This rare catalogue documents Zuber’s work that reflects American tastes in the late 1920s. A few of the samples also directly relate to more »

Carolina parakeet: A Splendor of Beauty Gone Forever

July 4, 2014

At this time of year, those of us in the U.S. often find our eyes turned skyward to admire a brilliant array of colors lighting up the night sky in celebration of America’s independence.  Up until about a hundred years ago, a colorful display of another kind filled the North American skies, and not just on the fourth of July. Jewel-colored Carolina parakeets (Conuropsis carolinensis) traveled in huge, noisy flocks from southern more »

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