Staying cool for a 19th Century picnic

-+*Today, many of us are probably familiar with insulated bags that help keep food cold, or even warm, until you get to your destination. But did you know there was a picnic basket in the nineteenth century that did something similar?

Vintage Fireworks for the Fourth

-+*This post was written by Adrian Vaagenes, intern in the National Museum of American History Library. The 4th of July is upon us, and for many of us this means, to borrow a quote from The Simpsons, it’s “time to celebrate the independence of our nation by blowing up a small part of it”. Just as we enjoy lighting roman candles, sparklers, cherry bombs, and m-80’s, these pieces of trade literature in more »

What’s in a Name? The Related Talents of Mark Catesby and Gertrude Jekyll

-+*The Catesby Commemorative Trust launched the publication of The Curious Mister Catesby with a program at the National Museum of Natural History this past April. Smithsonian Libraries’ own Leslie Overstreet, a contributor to these various perspectives on Mark Catesby’s The natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama islands (London, 1729-1747), spoke on that work’s long, complicated printing history. Another speaker, E. Charles Nelson, presented his research into the naturalist’s biography. His more »

Cool off with Soda Fountains from the Past

-+*Summer has just arrived and the heat is starting to turn up, making it the perfect time for ice cream. Imagine yourself in 1904. You just met some friends for ice cream at a soda fountain. What would you have seen? Ice cream and drinks, of course. But what about the dishes, furniture, and even the tools to make some of those treats?

Fantastic Worlds: The Making Of

-+*Join Smithsonian Libraries on a journey to Fantastic Worlds: Science and Fiction, 1780-1910 a new exhibition opening to the public July 1, 2015 in the Smithsonian Libraries Gallery in the newly renovated wing of the National Museum of American History. Click here for a preview.  

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.

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 »

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