Cruising through National Bike Month

-+*There are only a few days left in National Bike Month but we couldn’t let May pass without sharing a few of the fabulous bicycle-related resources available from the Smithsonian Libraries. National Bike Month, established in 1956, is sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists. It promotes the benefits of bicycling and encourages more folks across the country to give it a try.

Adopt “Souvenir views of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition”

-+*2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the Panama–Pacific International Exposition, held in San Francisco, between February 20 and December 4 in 1915. Its ostensible purpose was to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal, but it was widely seen in the city as an opportunity to showcase its recovery from the 1906 earthquake. The fair was constructed on a 635 acre (2.6 km2) site in San Francisco, along the northern shore now more »

Swahili Coast: Exploration by French Captain Charles Guillain, 1846-1848. Part 3, Encounters and Partnerships

-+*The blog post, last of three, was written by Xavier Courouble, research assistant for Sailors and Daughters: Early Photography and the Indian Ocean, an online exhibition part of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art’s Connecting the Gems of the Indian Ocean: From Oman to East Africa. Charles Guillain’s three-volume work, Documents sur l’histoire, la géographie, et le commerce de l’Afrique orientale and the accompanying atlas folio of lithographs and map engravings, Voyage more »

Durable Pianos

-+*“It shows no signs whatever of the rough handling that it has received at the hands of our pupils who have used it continuously for practicing and evening amusement.” That was how J. W. Hill, M.D. described the durability of the piano purchased for Bishop Scott Academy in Portland, Oregon.

Computers and Washington

-+*Last fall, I marked the season for the harvesting of grapes to honor John Adlum, the little-known “Father of American Viticulture.” The origins of the first commercially viable vine in the American wine industry can be traced to the District of Columbia. Now, with the great interest in Alan Turing, the recent auction sale of this English mathematician’s 56-page notebook for more than a million dollars, and the success of the movie, more »

Smithsonian Libraries Observes the 70th Anniversary of V-E Day

-+*History in the Making… In addition to rare books and special collections housed in the DeWitt Clinton Ramsey Room, one of the valuable resources located in the National Air and Space Museum’s Library is its rich and diverse collection of books and journals which focus on the meteoric rise and advances in the field of aviation during World War II. May 8th marks the 70th anniversary of V-E Day, or “Victory in more »

The Chakras at the Cooper Hewitt National Design Library

-+*This post was originally featured on the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s “Object of the Day” blog, written by digital media technologist Katie Shelly. Last year, our librarian Stephen Van Dyk picked up this slender blue hardcover at a rare book auction. He didn’t know exactly what a “chakra” was, but still he found the worn old book remarkable, if not a bit weird, for its striking illustrations of big painted circles.

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