Digital Library: Natural and Physical Sciences

"Make the Dirt Fly!" Building the Panama Canal

In 1904, the U.S. government embarked on the largest civil engineering project in history.

A History of Pop-up and Movable Books: 700 Years of Paper Engineering

Video of a lecture given by Ellen Rubin on the history of pop-up and movable books.

A Jules Verne Centennial: 1905 - 2005

Fantastic illustrations from early editions of Verne's works to celebrate the "father of scientific fiction."

An Odyssey in Print: Adventures in the Smithsonian Libraries

Explore six centuries of rare books, manuscripts, art, and artifacts from the Smithsonian Libraries and learn how Smithsonian staff use these resources in their everyday work.

By Aeroplane to Pygmyland: Revisiting the 1926 Dutch and American Expedition to New Guinea

A fascinating look back at a historically important scientific expedition to New Guinea told through diaries, photographs and original film footage.

Chasing Venus: Observing the Transits of Venus 1631-2004

Commemorating the sixth observed transit of Venus in 2004, this exhibition examines this rare phenomenon through astronomical texts written in the last four centuries.

Eerie Anatomy : Periscope Tour of Medical Texts in the Dibner Library

A Periscope tour of the Dibner Library's anatomy rare books for Halloween

Fantastic Worlds

Travel with us to the fantastic worlds of fiction inspired by 19th-century discovery and invention. Opens July 1, 2015 at the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.

From Smithson to Smithsonian: The Birth of an Institution

Learn about the man who gave his fortune "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge" and the early years of the Smithsonian Institution.

Heralds of Science

These 200 books and articles were selected by Bern Dibner to represent the most significant titles in the formation and development of Western science and technology.

Incunabula in the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology

An index to the earliest books printed with movable type held by the Libraries. Some entries have associated images.

Index Animalium

Compiled over 43 years by one man this index to every living animal discovered between 1758 and 1850 is still considered the essential reference for zoologists and paleontologists.

Instruments for Science

A collection of uniquely valuable trade literature that tells the history of 19th c. science through instrument catalogs.

Library and Archival Exhibitions on the Web

Library and Archival Exhibitions on the Web

Once There Were Billions: Vanished Birds of North America

Once an amazing diversity of birds–some in breathtaking abundance–inhabited the vast forests and plains of North America. But starting around 1600, species began to disappear, as h

Science and the Artist's Book

The Libraries' first online exhibition with works by over two dozen artists who re-interpret scientific ideas, methods, and discoveries through an imaginative use of the book form.

Scientific Identity: Portraits from the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology

Portraits of scientists, engineers, and inventors collected by Bern Dibner to complement he thousands of scientific books and manuscripts in the library he founded.

Smithson's Library

A list of the original library of the Smithsonian's founder, given along with his bequest to the United States.

Taxonomic Literature 2 online

Online version of Taxonomic Literature 2, the premier guide to the literature of systematic botany.

The Art of African Exploration

Explore Africa with early European visitors through the fascinating drawings, book illustrations and other objects from the Russell E. Train Africana Collection.

The Illustrations of the Nests and Eggs of Birds of Ohio

The extraordinary, highly praised, and visually captivating work of amateur scholarship that was created through the efforts of the family and friends of a young woman from Ohio.

The Philosophical Breakfast Club and the Invention of the Scientist

Video of a lecture by Dr. Laura J. Snyder based on her recent book "The Philosophical Breakfast Club: Four Remarkable Friends who Transformed Science and Changed the World"

United States Exploring Expedition

After four years at sea, the U.S. Exploring Expedition returned with a bounty of data, specimens and artifacts that would later come to the Smithsonian.

Voyages: A Smithsonian Libraries Exhibition

Voyages of discovery can be of many kinds: a physical journey to an unknown place, a mental exploration of new or familiar territory, or a wholly new episode of creative thought.

Whales: From Bone to Book

How do the bones and fossils of the largest mammals on the planet make their way from discovery by Smithsonian scientists to the museum collections to sharing with the world?

Wonder Bound

Wonder-rooms and curiosity cabinets appeared in the 1500s, as wealthy Europeans displayed objects and specimens collected during trading voyages and exploring expeditions.

Wonder Bound

Wonder-rooms and curiosity cabinets appeared in the 1500s, as wealthy Europeans displayed objects and specimens collected during trading voyages and exploring expeditions.

Zoos: A Historical Perspective

A sampling of the pamphlets, guide books, maps, drawings, and photographs of zoos from over 30 states and 40 countries collected by the Libraries.