Check It Out with Smithsonian Libraries

Check It Out is a collaborative program between the Smithsonian Libraries and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s Education Departments. The program provides kits to families with young children that they can “check out” during their visits in the galleries. There are three different bags, each one anchored by a children’s book, simple hands-on materials, and a suggested artwork to visit. Carpet squares are left in front of each artwork to encourage more »

#ColorOurCollections is back!

Calling all coloring enthusiasts! #ColorOurCollections is back for 2018 and we have a brand new coloring packet! During Color Our Collections,  which is organized by the New York Academy of Medicine, cultural institutions from around the world will provide inspiration and coloring sheets for artists of all ages to fill in. Colorers can share their creations on social media by tagging the organization and using the hashtag #ColorOurCollections. To celebrate, download one more »

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 »

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