Aug
23

Cooper-Hewitt renovation

The Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York is currently closed to the public (except for the garden and gift shop) as staff prepare for a major renovation to the Carnegie Mansion to begin this fall.  Sharon Park, associate director of the Smithsonian’s Architectural History and Historic Preservation Division (in the lift) and Mary Jablonski… Continue reading Cooper-Hewitt renovation

Aug
18

Following in the footsteps of James Smithson

Inveraray Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland was one of the places visited by James Smithson (1764–1829), geologist and founder of the Smithsonian Institution, during the summer of 1784 while he was traveling on a scientific expedition to the remote island of Staffa on Scotland’s Northwest coast. Steven Turner, curator in the Division of Medicine and Science… Continue reading Following in the footsteps of James Smithson

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Aug
17

Shire Velocipede, 1879-1889

In the 1880s and 1890s, cycling was a popular form of transportation for practical travel and pleasure rides. In the late 1860s, the forerunner to the bicycle was the velocipede, which originates from the Latin words for “swift foot.” The velocipede had pedals on the front wheel but no drive mechanism, such as a chain… Continue reading Shire Velocipede, 1879-1889

Aug
16

American Bison at the Castle, 1887 – 1889

On Aug. 10, 1846, by a vote of 26 to 13, the U.S. Senate passed the act organizing the Smithsonian Institution, which was signed into law by President James K. Polk. Among its provisions, the Organic Act specifies: a Board of Regents, Chancellor and Secretary; a suitable building with rooms for the reception and arrangement… Continue reading American Bison at the Castle, 1887 – 1889

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Aug
16

From Earth to the Solar System: The pale blue dot

The Pale Blue Dot: This iconic image was taken by NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft from a distance of almost 4 billion miles from Earth. The dot can be faintly seen about halfway down the orange stripe on the right. (Click on image to enlarge.) In the words of Carl Sagan, who requested that NASA turn… Continue reading From Earth to the Solar System: The pale blue dot

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