Smithsonian Sells Out?

Today's All Things Considered (audio link, see also ABC News for text coverage) investigates a contract the Smithsonian Institution made with Showtime, granting some exclusive rights to the network. The deal is raising the hackles of some filmmakers.

Compare to the for-profit publishing of government documents, Coke's sponsorship of the Library of Congress, and the much-maligned NIH proposal to make tax-funded research public (or the hawking of virgin forests or arctic wildlife habitats, but I digress).

Is the government selling rights to national treasures off like this warranted?

NYPL Digital Gallery: 2006 Museums & the Web A

Anonymous Patron writes "NYPL Digital Gallery was recently chosen winner in the Best Research Site category at the annual Best of the Web competition held by Museums and the Web, "the international conference for culture and heritage online." An international panel of museum professionals selects winners each year from nominated sites in categories such as On-line Exhibition, Education, and Research. Web sites nominated in the Best Research Site category "support research on ... collections and provide excellent resources for researchers from any discipline."

What the judges said about NYPL Digital Gallery:

A rich information portal with wide ranging content available for easy use by the researcher, student and/or casual viewer.

Huge amount of information... Not only is the depth of content superb, the functionality of the search engine is exemplary.

This is a fascinating site that is easily searched and makes a wealth of information instantly available.

Past winners in this category include the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Timeline
of Art History
, Tate Online, and the
Theban Mapping Project."


UC Berkeley library displays some of its coolest artifacts

It's not often I can post an article that uses the word "cool" to describe a library, so I'll take every chance I can get: >UC Berkeley library displays some of its coolest artifacts is from Inside Bay Area on the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum. "It's seriously cool stuff most people will never get a chance to see in real life, " Bancroft Library officials have selected more than 350 of the library's rarest and most historic holdings for an exhibit celebrating the library's 100th year.

US Art Museums Debut Cell Phone Tours

Search Engines Web writes "museums in Los Angeles, Berkeley, Calif., Tacoma, Wash., Minneapolis and Greenwich, CT have begun offering cell phone tours, mostly for free. Dozens more are in the process of implementing the service. Here's The Scoop"

Librarian Finds Rare Documents of Biologist Linnaeus

Like any scientist, Swedish biologist Carl Linnaeus needed proper supplies. One of the previously undiscovered documents that the Linnaeus Link Project Officer, Cathy Broad found at the British Museum Library included a request for glass specimen bottles in which to collect either tree samples, or for carrying water on expeditions (they're not sure which). For you Linnaeus fans, next year will mark the tercentenary of his birth.

Press release from the Museum of Natural History here , and more information about the Linnaeus Link .


Smithsonian collecting hip-hop

madcow writes "Cultural curmudgeons everywhere will likely frown even harder when they read
"For nearly three decades, hip-hop relics such as vinyl records, turntables, microphones and boom boxes have collected dust in boxes and attics.

On Tuesday, owners of such items including pioneering hip-hop artists such as Afrika Bambaataa, DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash and Fab 5 Freddy will blow that dust off and carry them to a Manhattan hotel to turn them over to National Museum of American History officials.""


Museum of African-American History Site

Kathleen writes "The Smithsonian Institution selected a prominent space on the Mall near the Washington Monument as the site of its National Museum of African-American History and Culture. [Monday, January 30, 2006].
For links to other African American Museums see the Association of African American Museums. "


Hurricane Relief to Libraries from NEH

Kathleen stopped in to let us know that National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded emergency grants to aid recovery and preservation of cultural resources in the areas effected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Nineteen grants worth $565,000 were awarded to various museums, archives, and higher education institutions.

Too many treasures, not enough space

Ellis County Historical Society president Wilbert Pfeifer Says someday, the museum might have space to display eight to 10 percent of its artifacts, but not yet."We have a lot of things that can be brought out to enhance what we do have already," said Erin Hammer, curator of the Ellis County Historical Museum.

In the basement and sub-basement, Hammer shows items that are processed and stored in acid-free paper and plastic drawers. The No. 5 plastic is safe for storing artifacts and makes cataloging and finding the items much easier.

The attic is a different story, though. Racks of clothes are covered in plastic. The silk beaded dresses from the 1920s narrowly escaped damage from a leak in the roof.

Acadian artifacts salvaged from Louisiana flood

slashgirl writes "From the article: "Hundreds of Acadian artifacts from a Louisiana museum are drying out in the care of archivists in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita.

Among the artifacts rescued from flooding was the royal proclamation in which the Queen acknowledged for the first time the wrongs done to the Acadian people during the deportation of 1755."

Rest of the story HERE."



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