Leap of Faith: Robert Cocking’s Parachute Experiment of July 24, 1837

To take a leap of faith is to jump without knowing how one will land, either physically or metaphorically. For some, purposefully jumping from a plane and placing full faith in the parachute strapped to one’s back would constitute such a leap. Imagine the level of faith involved when jumping from a balloon when the technology of the parachute had yet to be perfected and often animals were sent in lieu of more »

The Fix – Edward Jenner’s Cure for Smallpox

When a book that had the impact of Edward Jenner’s An Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccinae comes into the conservation lab we get fairly excited. This 1798 first edition, part of the Dibner Library, outlines the technique of infecting patients with the mild cowpox virus to create immunity from the highly contagious and often deadly smallpox virus. As a result of his findings Jenner is considered the father of immunology more »

From Bed Sheet to Tent in Two Minutes

Travel light. That is good advice for most travelers but maybe even more so for those who might have to carry their belongings a long distance, such as campers. But with the Burch Combination Bed Sheet, Tent and Sleeping Bag, it’s all-in-one.

Poet and Art Maker, Vito Acconci, visits Hirshhorn Museum Library

This post was written by Anna Brooke, librarian at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library. “I hate the word ‘artist.’” said Vito Acconci in an interview with Milena Kalinovska posted on the Hirshhorn Museum web page. Vito was in Washington D.C. for a Meet the Artist public program the evening of January 17, 2013 at the Hirshhorn Museum.  During the day, Vito prepared his presentation in the Hirshhorn Museum Library, using more »

Highlights from the Cultural Heritage Library: Physiognomy edition

The Cultural Heritage Library (CHL) covers a wide range of topics. Government publications, Smithsonian exhibition catalogs, travel guides, and geographic histories–the CHL aims to digitize everything from our history, art, and culture collections that we can. As such, the entire collection was currently published prior to 1923, so some of it can sound dated or naive to modern ears.

Star-Spangled Music

This post was written by Audrey Hopkins. Audrey is a Summer 2013 intern at the National Museum of American History Library. She is currently a library graduate student at Simmons College in Boston. This fourth of July, we give you all the fixings for a barbershop quartet! Among the collections here in the National Museum of American History Library are a number of books on American music. For 25 cents in 1897, more »

Welcome back, Tatum!

The following post was written by Development intern Tatum Lindsay. Tatum first joined us last summer and explains why she was eager to come back to the Libraries and build on that experience. A lot of people ask me why I chose to come back to the Smithsonian as an intern. Isn’t once enough? Don’t I need more diverse experience for my infant college resume? What is the point of doing the more »

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