Swahili Coast: Exploration by French Captain Charles Guillain, 1846-1848

This post, one of three, was written by Xavier Courouble, volunteer at the National Museum of African Art. Part 1, Re-building an Empire and Emancipating Slaves Recovering from loss of empire following Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo in 1815, the French sought to re-establish commerce and colonies in the Indian Ocean.  The task fell to Charles Guillain, who led a French expedition to the Swahili coast of Eastern Africa in 1846-1848.  Our record more »

A Visit from Co-op City and an Artists’ Book for the Collection

  This summer the Warren M. Robbins Library, National Museum of African Art (AfA) and the American Art Museum/National Art Museum Library (AAPG) hosted a group of 54 visitors from Co-op City in the Bronx, NY to recognize the acquisition of an artists’ book into the AAPG Library’s collection.

David Livingstone and the Other Slave Trade Part III. The Slaver and the Abolitionist

This the third and final installment of National Museum of African Art Library volunteer Judith Schaefer’s series on David Livingstone. See Part I and Part II. “In Congo, unrelenting violence” “.  .  . violence and insecurity have continued to plague eastern Congo . . . groups have sought to gain power and control over the nation’s vast mineral wealth . . . civilians have been raped and killed . . .” The more »

David Livingstone and the Other Slave Trade, Part II: The Arab Slave Trade

This post is the second in a three post series by National Museum of African Art Library volunteer Judy Schaffer. If you missed the first installment, posted right before our shutdown-induced hiatus, check it out here. “. . . this trade in Hell, this open sore of the world . . .” David Livingstone’s first book, Missionary travels and researches in South Africa, published in 1857, was a huge success, not only more »

David Livingstone and the Other Slave Trade, Part I.

2013 marks the bicentennial of Scottish explorer David Livingstone (1813-1873).  His explorations in central Africa are well known – – “Dr. Livingstone, I presume.”  Less well known is his first-hand encounter with the horrors of the Arab slave trade in East Africa.  Two Smithsonian Libraries – – the Warren M. Robbins Library at the National Museum of African Art and the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library at the National Museum of Natural more »

African Art in the Cultural Heritage Library

The Cultural Heritage Library (CHL) has been through a few incarnations over the last 3 years but the content remains the same. It is a digital collection that includes materials from the History, Art, and Culture libraries within the Smithsonian. The collection has been developed using branch librarian’s selections as well as items that have been identified as being relatively scarce according to OCLC holdings. Subject headings are part of the descriptive metadata for each title and are available to browse from the Internet Archive website, providing an at-a-glance overview of the collection.

West Africa, 1902: A Clash of Cultures

In honor of National Volunteer Week, please enjoy this illuminating post by National Museum of African Art branch library volunteer, Judy Schaefer. Judy is one of many hard working volunteers at the Smithsonian Libraries and we appreciate each and every one! In 1902, Commander Eugène Lenfant traveled from Paris to Lake Chad in a mere 75 days.  He was looking for a cheap, fast, and humane way to supply the French Sudan—”Afrique française” on the map—and he found one by ascending the Niger, Benue, Kebi, and Chari rivers all the way to the lake.

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