You may not have realized it, but you’ve been acquainted with Mary Anning since you were young.
“She sells sea shells by the sea shore.”
Remember this grade school tongue-twister? What you probably didn’t know is that this nursery rhyme is based on a real person who not only sold seaside curiosities by the seashore, but became world renowned for her fossil discoveries.
I’ve been a fan of Newcomb pottery since I first saw an example on the Antiques Roadshow more than a decade ago. Currently I have the opportunity to see Newcomb pottery every day — three pieces are featured in an art pottery and glass exhibit at the National Museum of American History, the building where I work. Simple forms, lovely colors and nature motifs make Newcomb pottery very appealing and highly collectible. But there’s also a compelling story behind the pottery. For March, which is both Women’s History Month and National Craft Month, I want to share information about Newcomb College in New Orleans where the pottery was made. This college offered education and employment for women artists at a time when such opportunities were scarce, especially in the South.
This March, in honor of Women’s History Month we’re highlighting notable women who are represented in our collections.
Sophie Blanchard was the first professional female aeronaut in history. Born March 25, 1778 near La Rochelle, France, Sophie was initiated into ballooning by her husband Jean-Pierre-François Blanchard, himself a pioneer in ballooning. Jean-Pierre along with his co-aeronaut Dr. John Jeffries, were the first to cross the English Channel by balloon in 1785.
The short story “The Ultimate Safari,” by Nadine Gordimer, was originally published in 1991 in Jump and Other Short Stories (London: Bloomsbury). This new edition of The Ultimate Safari is distinguished by its illustrations: twelve lithographs drawn by Aletah Masuku, Alsetah Manthosi, and Dorah Ngomane. Mark Attwood at The Artists’ Press initiated and produced the book in collaboration with Tamar Mason, co-director of the press.
Over spring break, I and four other University of Kentucky School of Library and Information Science graduate students interned at the Smithsonian Libraries in Washington, DC. With our supervisors’ guidance, my classmates and I worked on projects in Advancement, the Biodiversity Heritage Library, Artists Files, Scholarly Communications, and Social Media. Megan Lucy, who spent time in Scholarly Communications, summed up our experience well when she said, “I valued being exposed to so many different aspects of librarianship in such a short time” — which is true because we accomplished a lot in one week!
After the apparent last snow of the season (hopefully!), Spring is finally coming to Washington, D.C. Brides-to-be always flock to the District this time of year with the promise of cherry blossom engagement photos. In addition, brides can look back at historic inspirations found in the National Museum of American History Library’s Trade Literature Collection.
In the fall semester of 2015, I was teaching a course on *Classical Heritage in Washington: Encounters in the Museum* for students from the University of Maryland. Every Friday afternoon around 2pm, students would meet with colleagues and curators, archivists and archaeologists, diplomats and thinkers who work on aspects of heritage preservation and connecting ancient Mediterranean, Near Eastern, and European traditions with those of Washington, DC. The students learned how to tailor and manage research projects, and they developed their own exhibition projects over the semester.