Eerie Anatomy: Vesalius’ De humani corporis fabrica

Want more creepy skeletons? Join us for a live Periscope tour on Thursday, October 29th at 1pm! Halloween is quickly approaching and with it come the traditional decorations of bats, pumpkins, ghosts and of course, skeletons. Back in the 1500’s, one man changed the way the medical world saw the skeletal and muscular systems of the human body. That man, Andreas Vesalius, illustrated anatomical features in his De humani corporis fabrica (On more »

The Fix: Hidden Manuscripts

The conservation of special collections materials is rarely a straightforward endeavor. It’s important to treat each item as a unique object, and to let its particular history and condition drive the decision-making process. Often, the path forward is only revealed once treatment begins, as the conservator becomes more and more familiar with the book, sometimes through research and analysis, but often simply by observing and handling the book over a period of more »

Seeking the Ferns of Southern Mexico: on Oliver Sacks neurologist, bestselling author, and botanist

This post was written by Robin Everly, librarian in the Botany and Horticulture Library, with Spencer Goyette, contractor in the National Museum of Natural History’s Department of Botany. Working in the Botany and Horticulture library, I’m still surprised by the books I come across that I haven’t heard about. So when I came across Oaxaca Journal what caught my eye was the author’s name on the book’s spine- Oliver Sacks. Immediately, I more »

Beyond Shells: The Birth of Malacology

Until the late 18th century, the study of mollusks was based largely on shells. Very little research or published information existed about molluscan anatomy and soft tissues. Giuseppe Saverio Poli, recognized by many as the father of malacology, changed this with his monumental publication, Testacea utriusque Siciliae eorumque historia et anatome (1791-1827).

Simple Rehousing

Numerous pamphlets, catalogues, and paperbound materials contribute to the vast general collections held within the Smithsonian Libraries. Many of these fragile items were carefully treated by past Preservation Services staff using approaches similar to those we currently employ.

Support Galileo in the Smithsonian Summer Showdown!

Galileo Galilei, one of the most famous and important scientists of all time, a man whose ideas survived Roman Inquisition and house arrest, is going up against Jackson Pollock, Langston Hughes and others to determine who  is the “Most Seriously Amazing” at the Smithsonian. In this second annual contest, units from around the Smithsonian have picked their most remarkable objects and are asking the public to vote for the best of the more »

Bloch’s Allgemeine Naturgeschichte der Fische

For many Americans, mid-summer is best spent by the shore; beaches and lakes are traditionally packed this time of year. And if you’re lucky, that little time by the water will involve a glimpse at some aquatic life — a sand crab, a sea star, perhaps a fish or two. If your summer sightings have inspired an interest in fish (or perhaps you want to save yourself the sunscreen and view some more »

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