New Teen Docent Program in “Cultivating America’s Gardens”

This post was written by Abigail Espiritu, a summer intern focusing on social media and the Libraries’ blog. This fall, Abigail will be entering her freshmen year at the University of Maryland where she will be majoring in journalism. This summer, the Smithsonian Libraries offered a new opportunity for students to work in the National Museum of American History (NMAH) as teen docents! A group of eleven teens, consisting of high school more »

Unearthing an 18th-Century Librarian-Gardener

Rare book cataloging can require some detective work. A recent case for me involved a record of ancient coins in the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford, transferred to the Smithsonian’s Dibner Library for cataloging from the National Museum of American History’s National Numismatic Collection. This is also a tale of how a book can reveal unexpected histories.

Decorative Touches for the Late 19th Century Home

Imagine yourself in the late 19th Century. Maybe you just sat down to watch a game of croquet on your lawn while chatting with some friends. This trade catalog from 1875 includes an item that might have been useful for that very thing.

Lighting the way with political torches

Halloween is just around the corner, and many libraries & archives are scouring their collection for fitting images for #PageFrights. I found this patent drawing for a Jack-a-Lantern torch in the 1966 Bulletin of the United States National Museum, no. 241 (Contributions from the Museum of History and Technology, papers 45-51 on History) and thought it was more than appropriate. It’s from the first paper, “Political Campaign Torches” by Herbert R. Collins: There are more »

The Season of Caps and Gowns

Graduation season is upon us! Some students have already graduated. Others are just about to graduate. Ever wonder if academic regalia looked any different in the past? Let’s take a look at caps, gowns, and hoods in a Cotrell & Leonard trade catalog from the early twentieth century. 

The Fix: Saving The Marine Atlas

When Smithsonian Libraries’ material is placed on exhibition, all selected objects are reviewed for display. In some cases, conservation treatment is required in order to make it possible for a book to be opened and pages turned without damaging the structure. Other factors such as conditions for temperature, relative humidity, and light levels in the exhibition gallery are reviewed before allowing items to be exhibited for any length of time. The Dibner more »

The End of the Tour – and Still No Hard Feelings

The Sailing Club of the Chesapeake, to commemorate the American Bicentennial, invited members of England’s Royal Yachting Association to journey to the Eastern Seaboard for the “No Hard Feelings Cruise.” Sixty-two British sailors took up the offer, and with more than 300 others, embarked on eighty-nine yachts to race and explore the waters of the Chesapeake Bay in 1976.

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