The Smithsonian Libraries has been contributing manuscripts from our collections to the Smithsonian Transcription Center for digital volunteers (or Volunpeers) to transcribe for over a year now. We’ve featured a variety of materials, from a vocabulary of the Potawatomi language, to shipboard diaries, to natural history field books and aeronautical scrapbooks. These works have all been quickly and enthusiastically transcribed, and now we’re offering up a much more challenging item, sure to warm the heart of anyone who has an interest in medieval Latin: the De institutione arithmetica (On the principles of arithmetic) of Boethius, handwritten during the 15th century, from the collection of the Smithsonian Libraries’ Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology, located in the National Museum of American History.
Month: January 2015
Smithsonian Libraries is pleased to welcome Michael Keeling to the Preservation Services Department. Michael is a D.C. native and a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the NYU creative writing program. Previously, he worked as a collections care technician at the Library of Congress.
Join us for a discussion with Dr. David Carr about the potential of, and challenges facing, a cultural institution in the modern age. Carr speaks, writes, and teaches about the value of cultural institutions as essential instruments for nourishing public imaginations in democratic societies. For thirty years, he has consulted in diverse American museums as an advocate for collaborative adult experiences with collections and ideas. Carr invites us to think with him about how an organization such as the Smithsonian can help ignite new ideas in its users and visitors and how those conversations can be continued long after the initial experience – regardless of whether that experience takes place in a physical or virtual space.
From June 24, 2014 – Jan 3, 2016, the Smithsonian Libraries presents “Once There Were Billions: Vanished Birds of North America”. The exhibition, on display in the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC, focuses on the story of the last Passenger Pigeon, the disappearance of the Great Auk, Carolina Parakeet, and Heath Hen and how they reveal the fragile connections between species and their environment.
Now you can remember these four great birds while supporting the Smithsonian Libraries. Purchases of this shirt, which features iconic images of the extinct species, directly benefits programing for the Libraries’ exhibitions.
It’s National Handwriting Day! The Smithsonian Field Book Project, a joint initiative between the Smithsonian Libraries, Smithsonian Institution Archives, and National Museum of Natural History to uncover, catalog, digitize, and share online the primary source records of scientific research done at, by, and for the Institution, celebrates this day with a showcase of some of the handwriting samples encountered during the project work. The Project works with materials stretching back almost 200 years, to 1816, and therefore often runs across examples of both very good and very bad handwriting.
Rhubarb, that harbinger of spring for many, is honored in the United States on January 23rd with National Rhubarb Day. Having let National Rhubarb Vodka Day (first Saturday in December) pass without note, I wanted to bake a pie in preparation. Thanks to the generosity of a neighbor and his bountiful garden last spring and summer, I had plenty set by. Rhubarb does freeze well. Inspired by the scholars transcribing, as well as cooking with and blogging about, culinary manuscripts dating from 1600 to 1800 in the University of Pennsylvania collections (recently profiled in The Washington Post), I turned to the Smithsonian Libraries for my commemorative effort.
“We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution”. Speech given at the National Cathedral, March 31st, 1968.