Every four months, the Office of Exhibits Central and the Smithsonian Institution Libraries (SIL) collaborate to share the rich diversity of the Libraries’ collections with visitors at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). The written and illustrated collections of the Libraries combined with artifacts and specimens give Smithsonian scholars a more complete picture of the subjects they study.
To give visitors an inside glimpse into the importance of the Libraries to researchers, SIL features a rotating selection of artifacts from the Natural History Museum and books, photos, and other ephemera from the Libraries’ collections. Currently, the exhibits focus on extinct or rare birds that are studied by scientists at Natural History.
OEC works with SIL to edit the interpretive text and labels, design the layout of the case, bracket any objects to be displayed, and produce the case furniture and graphic panels. Once the case is installed, the OEC team begins working with SIL staff to produce the next exhibit.
You can see the current installation on the Great Auk in the SIL case located in the NMNH lobby on the Constitution Avenue side of the building through November 2007. With the help of curator Helen James, the next birds to be featured are extinct Hawaiian species.
Photograph by Theresa Keefe, OEC