If life were like a work of art, what would it look like? How would you take the most ordinary daily routine, such as breakfast, and transform it into an artistic masterpiece? While looking through the Art and Artist Files at the Hirshhorn Museum and American Art/Portrait Gallery libraries, I was given a better idea of what it would be like to have breakfast in the boldly graphic world of Roy Lichtenstein, one of the most important figures in Pop Art.
Month: September 2015
At first glance, the front cover of this trade catalog shows an opera chair. But take a closer look and you might see something you didn’t expect to see. A hat appears to be attached to the bottom of the seat. That is just one of several special features built into these chairs.
On January 24, 1944, 19 year-old Joye Kelly sat down to take a psychology exam final at the Katharine Gibbs School in New York, NY. As she pondered the test’s questions, she had no idea her answers would forever change her life.
On September 9-11th, Smithsonian Libraries hosted the workshop: “Using Pigment-toned Paper Pulp to Create Flawless Fills for Works of Art on Paper and Archival Material,” instructed by Margo McFarland-Rothschild, who has taught these techniques previously at the Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies and has her own conservation and consulting practice in the Chicago area. At Smithsonian Libraries’ Book Conservation Lab participants prepared and pigmented paper pulp to use in concert with wet suction casting techniques to directly fill losses in paper based artifacts.
This post was written by Robin Everly, librarian in the Botany and Horticulture Library, with Spencer Goyette, contractor in the National Museum of Natural History’s Department of Botany.
Working in the Botany and Horticulture library, I’m still surprised by the books I come across that I haven’t heard about. So when I came across Oaxaca Journal what caught my eye was the author’s name on the book’s spine- Oliver Sacks. Immediately, I wondered if it was the same Oliver Sacks, neurologist and bestselling author of books such as Awakenings, The Island of the Colorblind, and The Man who Mistook his wife for a Hat. Dr. Sacks, who died on August 30, 2015, of metastatic cancer, had the ability to communicate complex scientific concepts to the general public by providing well written prose as well as insightful and strange stories about the human mind. And yes, he, the same Dr. Sacks, wrote Oaxaca Journal, which is the personal journal he kept during a fern collecting trip to southern Mexico with the American Fern Society 15 years ago.
This piece was written by Nancy E. Gwinn, Director, Smithsonian Libraries, for our summer 2015 printed newsletter magazine. To obtain a copy of our printed newsletter, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Smithsonian Libraries has an updated look, as you may have noticed. Recently, we simplified our name, dropping the word “Institution” for simplicity’s sake and because people always say “institute” instead. So we are now Smithsonian Libraries. And we’ve rolled out our new brand, the colored dots that will grace all of our products, fondly known as “chromazones,” a play on “chromosome,” with “chroma” meaning color in Greek and “zones” describing areas of our collections; green is Natural & Physical Sciences, purple is Special Collections (rare books & manuscripts), orange is Art & Design, and blue is History & Culture. You’ll find these on our website, our mobile apps, our brochures, our name badges, and anywhere else we can think to put them.
One does not readily associate “firsts” in aviation history with either Washington, D.C. or with the Scottish-born scientist and engineer Alexander Graham Bell. Alas, the first fatality in a powered aircraft connects both the nation’s capital and the inventor of the telephone. The Smithsonian’s collections give testament to many aeronautical and military milestones, including the brief but significant life of Thomas E. Selfridge.