Visitors from Paradise: The Paradiseidae

This post was written by Grace Costantino, Outreach and Communication Manager for the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL). It first appeared on the BHL blog here. Deep within the rainforest canopy of the Aru Islands, just west of New Guinea, two male Greater Birds-of-Paradise dance among the branches in carefully coordinated steps, their magnificent yellow, white, and maroon plumage undulating gracefully to the rhythm of their own unique song.

Mary in Miniature

This post was written by Lauren Eames. Lauren  was an intern with the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Library, Summer 2014.  She is working on her B.A. in Religious Studies at the University of Chicago. NEW YORK, 1982 – “Recent gifts to the museum library include a 15th-century illuminated prayer book from Northern Europe, featuring five full-page illuminations, historiated and floriated initials, and elaborate border fantasies; it is the gift of Joseph Farber more »

Authors of fiction at the Smithsonian

The post was written by Gil Taylor and Keri Thompson and was originally featured on our Tumblr page. Last year, our reference team received an interesting query from a student of cultural anthropology wanting ”to find out if any of the Smithsonian employees have published a work of fiction?” Boy, and have they! In case you needed some end-of-summer reading suggestions, here is a list of fiction works by former or current Smithsonian more »

“From Billions to None” Film Showing & Lecture

Please join us for this free film showing and lecture! Date: Monday, September 22, 2014 – 6:00pm Location: Baird Auditorium National Museum of Natural History 10th and Constitution Ave, NW Washington, DC 20004  This event is free and open to the public. If you plan to attend, please RSVP via email to  SILRSVP@si.edu.

Remembering Martha: A recap of our Twitterchat

On September 2nd, 2014, the day after the 100th anniversary of the death of Martha, the last passenger pigeon, the Smithsonian Libraries , National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) and Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) hosted a twitterchat in honor of the beloved bird. The chat featured Helen James, Curator in Charge of the Division of Birds at NMNH and Martin Kalfatovic, program director of BHL, who contributed for their respective organizations.

Ephemeral Thoughts during the Waning Days of Summer

This post was written by rare books cataloger Julia Blakely. It originally appeared on the Smithsonian Collections Blog. The spectacular display of the capital cherry trees of this year is but a happy, distant memory and the gardens of Washington have that hot, exhausted look of August, escaping into a rare gardening book is in order. The Cullman Library has a survivor of an ephemeral form of publication—nursery trade catalogs—that are valuable not more »

Labor Day

We hope you get a break from punching the clock and a chance to enjoy your time off, American workers! If you are looking for a little holiday reading, perhaps reflect on the origins of the day with this blog post from last year.  

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