At Home with the Smithsonian Libraries: Curious Creatures in the Margins

Please join us on Wednesday, May 27 at 5 pm ET!
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Illuminated manuscripts are beautiful books, full of glittering, colorful images. But they are much more than just pretty objects; illuminated manuscripts, particularly Books of Hours, survive from the medieval and early modern period in large numbers, allowing us to get a glimpse of the lives of people in the past. And the lives of people in the past were not as boring as one might think! In particular, the margins of their manuscripts show an interest in natural history, as well as some more creative and humorous figures.

You might know that the Smithsonian Libraries has two branches devoted to special collections: the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History and the Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology. But did you know that we have eight other branches with significant special collections of their own? And our Cooper Hewitt Design Library branch holds one such Book of Hours, with margins packed full of realistic and curious creatures!

Come along with Allie Alvis, our Special Collections Reference Librarian, and Dr. Kali Holder, a veterinary pathologist at the National Zoo, as they explore these marginal monsters!

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