Botanical enrichment

The Libraries has partnered with the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center’s (SEEC) Kindergarten Program to bring excellence and innovation into early childhood education with a dynamic educational initiative in a museum-based setting. Led by master teacher Joshua Beasley, the kindergartners at SEEC are experiencing the Smithsonian’s primary mission of the “increase the diffusion of knowledge” in a hands-on, interactive way at the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History, located in the National Museum of Natural History. Beasley and Libraries curators Leslie K. Overstreet and Daria Wingreen-Mason facilitate the creative development of storytelling, drawing, and communication skills in the young students, using museum exhibition spaces, rare materials, and visual images for inspiration. The Cullman Library provides the perfect backdrop for this imaginative learning. As Beasley states, “The physical space and creative atmosphere of the Cullman – as well as the collection of historical and fictional literature, fine art, and natural history illustration – is conducive to the adaptation, invention, and rehearsal of [Kindergarten] enrichment cycles.” The cooperative project between the more »

Women’s History Month: Maria Sibylla Merian

Maria Sibylla Merian was the daughter, sister, and wife of artists and engravers. She lived a most unconventional life: she became an artist herself, left her husband to join a Protestant sect, and voyaged at the age of 50 to the Dutch colony of Surinam in South America. Merian, who worked professionally under her own name, spent two years in the rain forest observing, collecting, and drawing insects and plants. Despite a few errors, her Metamorphosis, published after her return, is a masterpiece of both art and science. In a vivid, pleasingly ornate artistic style, she was the first to record the full life cycle of many species of butterflies and moths.—Elizabeth Periale Maria Sibylla Merian Raupen wunderbare Verwandelung und sonderbare Blumennahrung, 1730.

TELDAP 2009 International Conference, Taipei, Taiwan

During the week of February 23-27, 2009 TELDAP International Conference held in conjunction with Global Research Library 2020 and MCN Taiwan Meeting in Taipei, Taiwan. TELDAP is a nation-wide and centrally-funded project to bring together the cultural and scientific projects in the digital environment. The TELDAP organizers did an excellent job of bringing together a world-wide group of collaborators to share their own experiences and work with participating TELDAP institutions to analyze the work of TELDAP. Myself and Michael Edson, Director of Web Strategy in the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) were invited to give an overview of library, archives and museum collaborations, and web strategy for the MCN Taiwan portion of the meeting. Our session, attended by about 150 people, was well received with many comments and questions. You can find my presentation, “A Natural History of Unicorns: Smithsonian Collaborations in the World of Library, Archives, and Museums” is available online. TELDAP 2009 Home page GRL 2020 Home page —Martin Kalfatovic

Strategic planning

What will the libraries look like in the future? Staff met this morning to take a first look at a draft strategic plan which included ideas about collaboration, new modes of connecting with users, values, and developing expertise with emerging technologies. —Elizabeth Periale

Featured: Trade Literature

The National Museum of American History Branch Library houses the Trade Literature Collection, an extraordinary collection of over 430, 000 pieces of manufacturing and product catalogs comprising a broad range of American industrial output, from 1875 to 1950. Today's featured item is fairly typical of the collection as a whole: a straightforward catalog sent to the company's jobbers, distributors, and retailers: the " trade." But within its pages are some hidden nuggets that reveal an unusual path to a practical innovation. The catalog is entitled “Lamson Wire Line Carriers”, from the Lamson Company, based in Syracuse, New York. Lamson was a pioneer in the development and manufacture of pneumatic tube systems of document delivery, used in offices, factories, and even libraries. This conveying system was devised by William Stickney Lamson, who was based in Lowell, Massachusetts. Lamson became impatient with the time-consuming process of clerks having to walk paperwork and money back from cash registers and front offices to the payroll or purchasing or other back office locations. He devised more »

Women’s History Month – Marie Curie

Portrait of Marie Curie (1867-1934), PhysicistOriginally uploaded by Smithsonian Institution Among the many interesting photos in the Dibner Library's collection of portraits of scientists is this 1934 photo of Marie Curie (1867-1934). Curie was the only woman to win two Nobel prizes – the 1903 award in Physics, along with her husband Pierre, for research on radiation phenomena, and the 1911 award in Chemistry for her studies in radium and polonium. Marie was also mother to Irène Joliot-Curie, the recipient of the 1935 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Marie Curie died in 1934 from aplastic anaemia, a blood condition often associated with exposure to large amounts of radiation. We invite you to join the conversation about Marie Curie on Flickr, or view our entire portrait collection, "Scientific Identity: Portraits from the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology" on our webpage. —Erin Clements Rushing

2009 Dibner Library Resident Scholar

Meghan Doherty, one of Smithsonian Libraries 2009 Dibner Resident Scholars, began her studies at the Dibner Library in the National Museum of American History on January 5.  Her research tenure will extend through March, and she will return again for the month of June.Meghan is working on her doctoral dissertation “Carving Knowledge: Engraving, Etching, and Early Modern Science,” which focuses on how tools used in printmaking played a role in the creation of knowledge.  She is researching the engraver’s burin and the etcher’s needle, and the use of these tools in the making of printed images by and for members of the Royal Society of England in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.  Meghan plans to use several rare books from the Dibner Library’s collection to aid with two chapters of her dissertation, including Robert Hooke’s “Micrographia” and two of Antoni van Leeuwenhoek’s “Anatomia” texts.Meghan is a PhD candidate in Art History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  She also earned an M.A. in Art History from the University more »

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