Smithsonian Libraries are interrelated in subject matter and, together,
provide an exceptional foundation for investigations of all kinds.
These collections house many distinctive and unusual items that
are valued as much for their physical beauty and unusual character
as for the information and knowledge they can provide. To enhance
its collections for the benefit of current and future users, the
Libraries seeks endowment and spendable gifts in three major subject
areas: Science and Technology, Art and Design, and American History.
Nearly half of the Smithsonian's libraries support active scientific
research that includes study of the canopy in tropical rain forests,
the evolution of a new species of hummingbird, methods of expanding
panda populations in the wild, or solving the mystery of skeletons
found in an unknown burial ground. From curators using early 20th
century journals to trace descriptions of Triceratops fossils to
zoo veterinarians studying ways to treat aging captive elephants,
the Libraries' resources are integral to the care, preservation,
and sharing of knowledge about the Smithsonian's vast natural history
specimen - and living - collections.
equal importance are the collections that support research in the
history of science and technology. The Smithsonian's collections
of technological artifacts and the libraries that complement and
enrich those collections provide a powerful resource for scholars.
This unique combination of artifacts and library materials allows
a high school student to trace the technological development and
cultural impact of the locomotive and see examples of these engines
through time. Or it gives Smithsonian curators the ability to interpret
the development of computers beginning with the earliest Renaissance
Five libraries provide a global perspective on art and design, including
American art and portraiture, European and American design and decoration,
contemporary art, and African and Asian art and culture. These distinguished
collections not only help explain the extraordinary works of art,
sculpture and design in Smithsonian collections. They also serve
as inspirational gold mines for decorators, theater set designers,
jewelers, artists and craftsmen of all types, and as sources for
exploring the cultural backgrounds of our enlarging diverse population.
Smithsonian collections represent the aspirations, progress, and
creativity of the American people. Nearly a third of the Smithsonian
libraries support the Smithsonian' national museums in the subjects
of American history, air and space, philately, and the history and
culture of African and Asian/Pacific Island Americans, Latinos,
and American Indians.
What better place to explore what it means to be American than at
the world's largest museum complex in the nation's capital? As the
Smithsonian seeks to share its collections and programs in all 50
states, the Smithsonian Libraries must improve its foundation of
study materials and find ways to share them more broadly.
in discovery can help enhance these collections by
important research materials
individual libraries or specific collections, such as those in
natural history, the arts, world's fairs, or historical trade
literature describing more than 30,000 companies
access to the collections through publications, guides, Web site
development, exhibitions, or other public programs
Creating a Galaxy of Knowledge