Online Exhibitions

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Exhibitions

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. All three are explored in Voyages, an exhibition spanning five centuries of rare books, manuscripts, art, and artifacts from the Smithsonian Institution Libraries.

Archive of African Artists

The National Museum of African Art Library maintains a fast-growing collection of more than 2,000 files on contemporary African artists. No other library in the United States is developing or maintaining this type of collection. Although most of these artists are living and working in Africa, the Library also collects information on African artists internationally. The individual files may contain gallery brochures, exhibition announcements and invitations, price lists, resumes, press releases, reviews, and newspaper cuttings.

Drawing from Life: Caricatures and Cartoons from the American Art / Portrait Gallery Collection

The Smithsonian Institution Libraries has a substantial collection of cartoon and caricature books, including rare and special collections titles which date from 1800. Numbering over 600 volumes, this growing collection has a strong focus on works by American artists - the oldest dating to the Civil War period.

Parcel Post: Delivery of Dreams

The National Postal Museum Library has a rich collection of books concerning the history of parcel post in the United States. The establishment of parcel post in 1913 had a tremendously stimulating effect on the national economy; it opened a world of opportunities for both farmers and merchants alike.

Samuel P. Langley: Aviation Pioneer (Part 1)

Very few people today realize that Samuel P. Langley almost succeeded with inventing the airplane before the Wright brothers. Who was Langley and what did he do?

Ramelli's Machines: Original drawings of 16th century machines

The military engineer Agostino Ramelli produced a remarkable illustrated book in 1588 describing a large number of machines that he devised. Called Le diverse et artificiose machine del Capitano Agostino Ramelli (The various and ingenious machines of Captain Agostino Ramelli), this work had a great impact in the field of mechanical engineering. The book contains 195 superb engravings of various machines along with detailed descriptions of each one in both French and Italian. The Dibner Library has original drawings of seven of the machines and this web site has been developed to further research on these artworks.

The Art of African Exploration

The Art of African Exploration presents a selection of drawings, book illustrations, and other objects from the The Russell E. Train Africana Collection in the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History. The compelling images that emerged from the early European exploration of Africa tell the story of Africa as it was first seen by Western eyes, and the impact it had on a fascinated public.

The Illustrations of the Nests and Eggs of Birds of Ohio

llustrations of the nests and eggs of birds of Ohio was published in the small town of Circleville, Ohio, over a period of eight years (from 1879 to 1886) through the dedicated efforts of the family and friends of a young woman named Genevieve Jones. Despite being produced not just by amateurs but largely by women, far from the publishing houses and intellectual centers of 19th-century America, the book was hailed as an extraordinary achievement from the moment its first few plates were published.

Your Smithsonian Libraries

Did you know the Smithsonian has a library? Actually, the Smithsonian has 20 libraries combined into one system and supported by an online catalog of the combined collections of: Over 1.5 million books, 50,000 rare books, 10,000 historic manuscript and over 2,000 electronic journal titles

Nile Notes of a Howadji: American Travelers in Egypt, 1837 - 1903

Travel literature is an increasingly popular research tool for anthropologists, natural scientists, and social historians, as well as an informative and entertaining subject for the armchair traveler. The works displayed here focus on the American travel experience in Egypt, a popular destination for travelers from the time of Herodotus (ca. 420 B.C.). American travel accounts displayed a brashness and a paradoxical tendency to praise Egypt for being a fresh new travel destination while criticizing it for not being enough like home.

The Making of a Homemaker

Sustaining a home and healthy family was a full time job for middle class women in late nineteenth century America. Cooking, cleaning, and child rearing were seen as women's work. To some, "Comfort for her family is provided even at the expense of many an exhausted nerve, and an aching heart". How did they handle the daunting work without the aid of microwave ovens, vacuum cleaners and carpools? Wealthier women might rely on servants while other matrons bore the brunt of work themselves. However, to almost all, a comprehensive domestic guidebook could be indispensable.

From Horses to Horsepower: Studebaker Helped Move a Nation

Studebaker's long standing commitment to quality and value made it one of the automotive giants prior to the Great Depression, often being among the first manufacturers to introduce new technology or safety features, such as four-wheel hydraulic brakes in 1925. Barely surviving the 1930s, Studebaker resumed its innovative heritage with some of the first new designs to follow World War II. Postwar Studebaker automobiles, largely due to their association with Raymond Loewy, are still considered to be classics of modern industrial design.

Taking to the Skies: The Wright Brothers & the Birth of Aviation

On December 17, 1903, the Wright brothers were the first men in history to make powered, sustained and controlled flights in an airplane. The machine, engine and propellers were all of their own design and construction. It was bitterly cold that morning and a gusty 27 mile-per-hour wind scoured the sand dunes.

Zoos: A Historical Perspective

A collection of pamphlets and guide books published by zoos over the past century has been collected by the National Zoological Park branch of the Smithsonian Libraries. This online sample of these items, which includes maps, drawings and photographs of zoos from over 30 states and 40 countries is intended to highlight the value of this resource for both zoo and cultural historians. Few libraries or archives today contain materials showing the evolution of zoos in the modern era to the extent that this collection does.

Celebrity Caricature: Selections from the Smithsonian Institution Libraries

In the late 1990's the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery Library (AA/PG Library) made a special effort to collect materials on caricature and cartoon in conjunction with the National Portrait Gallery's 1998 exhibition "Celebrity Caricature in America", curated by Wendy Wick Reaves.

Library and Archival Exhibitions on the Web

Explore the rich variety of topics, images, and materials featured in online exhibitions from libraries, archives, historical societies, and museums around the world.  Search for exhibitions by subject, institution, or exhibition name.

Igniting Artistic Consciousness

The AA/PG Library received the donation of ephemera for more than 3,000 artists from the Art Students League of New York (ASL) in January 2017. The exhibition will be on view in the AA/PG Library Reading Room from August-December, 2017.

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