Throughout time, voyagers and explorers have drawn readers to unknown lands through stories in song and legend, early manuscripts, and printed books. Then as now, these intriguing accounts of discovery and faraway places broadened the world view of those left at home.
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.
Voyages' first expedition is the world as imagined, seen, and recorded by Europeans and Americans. The second journey is of the mind, as scientists extend our understanding of the world, from the Earth below to the heavens above. The final voyage is one of the imagination, led by artists, writers, and artisans.
This exhibition is an opportunity to share important books in the Smithsonian Libraries, to travel through lesser-known Smithsonian collections, and to learn how Smithsonian staff use these materials in their everyday work.