Smithsonian Libraries Receives 2015 Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives Award

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) has selected the “Biodiversity Heritage Library Field Notes Project” for a 2015 Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives award. The award of $491,713 will help support increased accessibility to original scientific documentation found in archival field notes in participating institution collections. Field notes provide valuable, primary research data about species and ecosystems that is often unpublished or unavailable through other sources. They can also more »

A Winter Trip via the Railway

Now that it’s cold outside, this is the perfect time to think of warmer temperatures and perhaps a vacation. The Trade Literature Collection at the National Museum of American History Library includes a lot of railway-related catalogs but not all of them are about equipment and supplies. Some are directed towards the tourist, like this nineteenth century catalog by Jacksonville, St. Augustine & Indian River Railway.

Explore “Color in a New Light” on Periscope & Twitter

At the end of the month, the Smithsonian Libraries will open Color in a New Light, a new exhibition highlighting the role of color in our lives, from science to fashion and everything in between.  Even if you’re not able to visit the show in person in the National Museum of Natural History ,  we invite you to join us as we explore color through several interactive social media events.  

Tip of the hat to Gazette du Bon Ton

What better day to celebrate one of our favorite French fashion periodicals than January 15th – known in some corners of the internet as “National Hat Day”. In the pages of Gazette du Bon Ton, fantastic head adornments certainly abound:  

Did a Cat Help Decorate this Binding?

  The style of book binding above with mottled leather is called Cat’s Paw, appearing to have had little inked feline foot pads walk over its covers. But no, this design is actually made with various types of stains and colors, applied in the binder’s workshop without the aid of a willing cat accomplice. The Internet was leaping a couple of years ago with accounts of evidence of a no-doubt confident and more »

New to the Hirshhorn Library: Latin American Artists

Since 2014, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library (HMSG) has received grants totalling $15,000 to catalog materials of Latin American artists. Former Smithsonian American Art Museum Curatorial Assistant, Florencia Bazzano-Nelson, explains why these materials are important: “Scholarly holdings regarding Latin American art are important because they provide the historical and cultural context for many artists in these collections … In a global environment, it is important for us to understand what more »

Dr. G. Zander’s Medico-mechanical Gymnastics

No doubt some of you are among the many hardened souls intent upon making this year the year you finally get in shape. And as you resolve to hit the gym, I’d like to shift your attention momentarily to something most of us don’t ponder—the history of the humble exercise machine.

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