The Fisk Jubilee Singers: Preserving African American Spirituals

In honor of Black History Month, we present a small but important part of African-American history and culture: the Fisk Jubilee Singers. This a cappella group of nine students from Fisk University was organized in 1871 to raise money ($20,000, to be exact) for their financially troubled institution. They succeeded magnificently. In the process, they were instrumental in preserving traditional African American spirituals and bringing them to a vastly wider audience, both more »

Window Dressing in the 19th Century

Trade catalogs might include products sold by stores, but those stores also need fixtures to display the products. Some of the catalogs in the Trade Literature Collection illustrate retail display fixtures, like this one from 1894.

Summer 2018 Internship Opportunities

Interested in a career in museum libraries? Want to know more about philately? Native American art? Natural history?  Take a look at the diverse offerings of the Smithsonian Libraries General Internships for Summer 2018. These flexible, part-time opportunities offer unique learning experiences in the largest museum library system in the world. Gain hands-on experience with the mentorship of skilled research librarians. One project can even be performed virtually!     This year’s more »

“An American Slave:” The Narrative of Frederick Douglass on the 200th Anniversary of his Birth

February 14th, 2018 marks the 200th birthday (observed) of Frederick Douglass. Interested in contributing to his legacy? Join the Transcribe-a-thon organized by Colored Conventions and the Smithsonian Transcription Center. Autobiographies of antebellum slaves, fugitive or former, are an extensive and influential tradition in American culture and a distinctive contribution to world literature. They speak to the country’s founding identity, giving voice to those in bondage and their search for freedom. They provide more »

Celebrating the Libraries’ 50th Anniversary at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

On January 24, 2018, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) Earl. S. Tupper Library of Tropical Biology hosted an Open House in celebration of the Smithsonian Libraries 50th anniversary. The event honored the Library’s rich legacy and celebrated its impact supporting scholarship, research, and discovery at STRI.  Attending the Open House were STRI staff and scientists, as well as distinguished members of the Panamanian community, including representatives of the National Library of Panama, the University of Panama, and the United States Embassy.  

Check It Out with Smithsonian Libraries

Check It Out is a collaborative program between the Smithsonian Libraries and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s Education Departments. The program provides kits to families with young children that they can “check out” during their visits in the galleries. There are three different bags, each one anchored by a children’s book, simple hands-on materials, and a suggested artwork to visit. Carpet squares are left in front of each artwork to encourage more »

#ColorOurCollections is back!

Calling all coloring enthusiasts! #ColorOurCollections is back for 2018 and we have a brand new coloring packet! During Color Our Collections,  which is organized by the New York Academy of Medicine, cultural institutions from around the world will provide inspiration and coloring sheets for artists of all ages to fill in. Colorers can share their creations on social media by tagging the organization and using the hashtag #ColorOurCollections. To celebrate, download one more »

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