Benjamin Franklin’s Political Arithmetic

The Libraries latest published Dibner Library lecture is Benjamin Franklin's Political Arithmetic: A Materialist View of Humanity by Joyce E. Chaplin, the James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History at Harvard University. Dr. Chaplin received her B. A. at Northwestern University, her M. A. and Ph.D. at the Johns Hopkins University, and was a Fulbright Scholar to the United Kingdom in 1985-86. Her most recent book, The First Scientific American: Benjamin Franklin and the Pursuit of Genius (2006), was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and won the Annibel Jenkins Biography Prize of the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies. She is currently writing a history of around-the-world travel, from Magellan the Spanish explorer to Magellan the GPS. We would like to present the first of a few excerpts from the published lecture to pique your interest. if you would like to receive the lecture in print, please contact the Dibner Library. If you can't wait for the next installment, you may also view the PDF. more »

Dia Internacional de la Mujer / International Women’s Day

El 8 de marzo es el Dia Internacional de la Mujer: Es un honor felicitarlas por sus logros, visión, energía, y amor por la vida y la familia. March 8th is International Women’s Day: The Libraries honors all of you for your accomplishments, stamina, and love of life and family. To celebrate International Women's Day / Dia Internacional de la Mujer, here are two interesting items selected by Librarian Vielka Chang-Yau, from our Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Library: Guía para la confección del Catálogo colectivo de publicaciones periódicas existentes en Panama / / elaborada por Nitzia Barrantes y Yolanda Araúz The Latino Patient: A Cultural Guide for Health Care Providers The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Library, also known as the Earl Silas Tupper Library in Tropical Biology, is located in Panama City, Republic of Panama. The Branch has sublocations on the Island of Barro Colorado, on the Gatun Lake of the Panama Canal, and on Colón Island, at the research station in the province of Bocas del Toro. The Library more »

Not just Pocahontas

A wonderful new exhibit opened last month at the National Museum of Natural History, Written in Bone, Forensic Files of the 17th-Century Chesapeake. After viewing a real-life CSI just brimming with history, you might want to check out some related texts from (all over) the Libraries: From the National Museum of American History Library, two titles that provide historical background of this fascinating slice of local American history: A land as God made it: Jamestown and the birth of America The Jamestown project From the Smithsonian American Art Museum / National Portrait Gallery Library, two titles focusing on Pocahontas: The pilgrims and Pocahontas: rival myths of American origin Pocahontas and her world; a chronicle of America's first settlement in which is related the story of the Indians and the Englishmen, particularly Captain John Smith, Captain Samuel Argall, and Master John Rolfe From Special Collections, two titles from the 1907 tercentennial of Jamestown: 1607, Jamestown exposition, 1907, Hampton Roads, Virginia Jamestown tributes and toasts From the Research Annex, two titles on more »

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

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