Wonder Bound | Rare Books on Early Museums
Introduction Crocodiles on the Ceiling Collecting Wonders One Part Arsenic Suggested Reading Exhibtion Credits

This exhibition will be on display in the Constitution Avenue lobby of the National Museum of Natural History from May 24 to the end of October, 2002.

Why are centuries-old natural history books vital to scientific research? Our scientists consult early printed materials to compare historical descriptions with modern specimens. These researchers use the rare book collection of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries' new Joseph F. Cullman, 3rd, Library of Natural History.

From Levinus Vincent's (1658-1727) Elenchus tabularum,
pinacothecarum, atque nonnullorum cimeliorum . . .

Haarlem:Sumptibus auctoris, 1719

Private "Wunderkammern" (wonder-rooms),
like that of Dutch merchant Levin Vincent,
evolved over the centuries into modern museums

Explore the Exhibition...

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