Upcoming Lectures: Smithsonian Libraries 50th Anniversary Series

In 2018, the Smithsonian Libraries will celebrate 50 years as a unified library system. In honor of this special anniversary, the Libraries will host a lecture series celebrating the history of the Smithsonian and the role that books and literature have played in its growth over the years. These lectures are free and open to the public. Additional details for our next two lectures are below.  

An Artist’s Tool

With such cold temperatures, this might be a good time to stay indoors for an arts and crafts project. In the past, we highlighted a trade catalog related to knitting and crocheting, but this time let’s look at a catalog for artists.

‘So you don’t have to go to the trouble of reading:’ Indexing, note-taking, and correction-making in Pliny’s 1491 Naturalis Historia

  “Do your reading!” and “Don’t write in your books!” are two oft-echoed directions from schoolteachers. A 1491 edition of Pliny the Elder’s Naturalis Historia housed in our Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History, however, challenges both of those commands: not only did Pliny write it in such a way that doesn’t necessitate reading it cover to cover, but readers in centuries past have added notes, reactions, and even corrections more »

The Fix: Maintaining an item’s received condition

Most of the items received in the Libraries’ Book Conservation Lab require intervention which may consist of treatments such as removing rusted staples; mending torn paper; or reattaching spine coverings. This active repair work often involves adding new thread, introducing new paper and adhesives, or replacing deteriorated cloth with a fresh piece that has been toned with acrylic paints. Items are minimally altered from their received condition and end up as a more »

The Last Jedi’s Monastic Retreat

The Skellig Islands. More stunning and other-worldly than any of the special effects of the past two Star Wars movies is the real-life towering rock outcroppings glimpsed in the closing moments of The Force Awakens (2015) and now playing a starring role in the blockbuster, The Last Jedi (2017). Although the Great Skellig, also known as Skellig Michael and Sceilig Mhichíl, and the Lesser (or Little) Skellig appear to be in a more »

Cooper Hewitt Pro-Seminar Series: Embracing ‘Phobia’

All incoming students in The New School Parsons History of Design and Curatorial Studies (MA) Masters’ Degree Program at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum take an object and research based class called Pro-Seminar. This course trains students in conducting formal analyses, writing catalog entries, and making visual presentations that require students to conduct and integrate primary and secondary source research.  Students select one work from the museum collection to study during this more »

Riding Through a Snowy Landscape

Now that Winter is here and some areas have already seen snow, let’s travel back in time by way of a trade catalog to see what people in the early 20th century might have used for a ride through the snowy countryside.

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