Digital Library: History and Culture

"Make the Dirt Fly!" Building the Panama Canal

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

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.

Bella C. Landauer Collection of Aeronautical Sheet Music

Highlights from the often colorfully illustrated collection of sheet music for early 20th century songs about planes, rocket ships, balloons and occasionally, romance.

Celebrity Caricature: Selections from the Smithsonian Institution Libraries

Hemingway and the Marx Brothers as drawn by the likes of Al Hirschfeld and Miguel Covarrubias.

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.

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

Sometimes humorous and always educational selections culled from the Libraries' collection of cartoon and caricature dating from the 1800's on.

From Horses to Horsepower: Studebaker Helped Move a Nation

The story of Studebaker told through images of its classic autos found in our renown Trade Literature collection.

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.

Frontier Photographer: Edward S. Curtis

Thirty years of grueling work on the North American Indian Project cost the artist his marriage and his health. It also yielded an American legacy that is an artistic masterpiece.

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

Pack your bags and grab your Baedeker's for an excursion to 19th c. Egypt with American travel writers.

Parcel Post: Delivery of Dreams

After its establishment in 1913, the parcel post had a dramatic effect on the U.S. economy. A staggering variety of goods was mailed by parcel post - even children!

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

Original drawings and superb engravings from Ramelli's book of ingenious inventions that had a great influence on the development of mechanical engineering.

Samuel P. Langley: Aviation Pioneer (Part 1)

Samuel P. Langley almost succeeded in inventing the airplane before the Wright brothers. Who was Langley and what did he do?

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

On December 17, 1903, in the bitter cold and with a gusty 27 mile-per-hour wind the Wright brothers made history.

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 Making of a Homemaker

"Comfort for her family is provided even at the expense of many an exhausted nerve, and an aching heart." Maybe what she needed was a comprehensive domestic guidebook?

Underwater Web: Cabling the Seas

In 1858 the world suddenly became smaller when an underwater telegraph cable joined two nations divided by the sea. From that first link, a vast web spread across the globe.

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.

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.