Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color debuts at the Cooper Hewitt

Saturated: The Allure and Science of Color debuted at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (New York, NY) in May 2018. The exhibition explores the elusive, complex phenomenon of color perception and how it has captivated artists, designers, scientists and philosophers for centuries. Featuring over 190 objects – 44 from Smithsonian Libraries’ collection – Saturated reveals how designers apply the theories of the world’s greatest color thinkers to bring order and excitement more »

File under: Office Organization, 1908

Every once in a while, we come across a trade catalog in the Trade Literature Collection that has a label on the front cover. Recorded on that label is date and location information, such as drawer number. We do not use labels such as that to shelve catalogs at the National Museum of American History Library, but I have often wondered if that label played a role in the way that particular more »

Design competitions as old as design

Design is for public consumption. Its process is collaborative and frequently involves many iterations of an idea before the best solution is found. This is why contests in design come about so naturally. Design competitions date all the way back to 448 BCE when the city of Athens decided to construct a war memorial on the Acropolis. This decision followed the Greco-Persian war and the watershed Battle of Marathon in Athens. Not all design more »

Swing Into Victory! A World War II Era Garden Party Garden Party

  The Smithsonian Libraries and Smithsonian Gardens co-host “Swing Into Victory! A World War II Era Garden Party Garden Party” Friday, May 18, at 6:00 p.m. in the Smithsonian’s Enid A. Haupt Garden and the historic Arts and Industries Building. The event celebrates the patriotic American food gardens of World War II with live music, swing dancing, canning demonstrations, activities, tastings and food and drink inspired by the era. The event is more »

A Temple of the Useful Arts: Highlights from the History of the Patent Office Building

There was always going to be something beautiful at the corner of 8th and F Streets in northwest Washington D.C. Pierre L’Enfant, in his earliest plans for the city, originally designated the site for a hall of American heroes. Nearly fifty years later, in 1836, President Andrew Jackson authorized the construction of the United States Patent Office Building as a tribute to American innovation. It was given the nickname “temple of the more »

The Fix: Welcome Ludivine Javelaud!

In February, Ludivine Javelaud began a six month internship with Preservation Services in the Libraries’ book conservation lab. Ludivine was born in Limoges in the Limousin region of France. At an early age, she discovered a love for drawing and Art and she fondly recalls regular family visits to museums, castles, and historical sites.  These experiences led her to initially consider training to become a paintings conservator and she pursued and completed more »

Exploring Our Collections with “Bill T. Jones”

This year is Smithsonian Libraries is celebrating 50 years as  a unified system. While each museum has (at least) one library dedicated research material on items related to the museum’s collection; as a branch system, The Libraries’ help researchers explore any part of a question that interests them. This sounds pretty straightforward, but what does it look like in real life? To find out, this post explore how one item from a more »

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