in Washington D.C., May 1-5, 2014

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Our D.C Favorites: Late Hours and Free Admission

A work I love to visit: Spring Dance, ca. 1917, Arthur F. Mathews. Oil on canvas, 51 7/8 x 47 5/8 in. (131.7 x 121.0 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David J. Carlson. 1982.126

After the Smithsonian American Art Museum (and roommate National Portrait Gallery) reopened from their major renovation in 2006, it was a real gift to the public that they changed their hours, extending them to 7 pm. When you pair this with free admission, it makes it so easy to drop in on your commute home or when you have time between work and after-work activities. You can visit just one gallery, even one object. It’s such a rewarding way to fill a few spare moments.

Have a few minutes during the conference? Scurry just around the corner and spend time with something wonderful.

Sarah Osborne Bender, Technical Services Librarian and Collections Metadata Specialist,
The Phillips Collection

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Local Libraries Open House – Capitol Hill edition

Hop on the Metro’s blue and orange lines and get off at Capitol South for two neighboring institutions participating in the Local Libraries Open House on Monday, May 5th.


[House Members Room. Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.] Highsmith, Carol M., 1946-, photographer. 2010 March 12.

First stop, the Library of Congress. In the Madison Building, the most recent of the library’s three downtown facilities (and the closest to the metro), enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at the Cataloging-in-Publication Program. Meet publisher liaisons, catalogers, and program director Karl Debus-López as you follow the receipt of electronic data from publisher to arrival of the printed book. Travel across the street to the original Jefferson Building (the same building where Convocation is being held) and find its Members Room, where you will be treated to unique and unusual materials from many LC collections on display. Just a few highlights include: maps with geographic interest and artistic flair from the Geography and Map Division; a letter describing James McNeill Whistler’s Peacock Room written by Aubrey Beardsley from the Manuscript Division; works by Rembrandt, Whistler, Gertrude Käsebier, Romare Bearden and other images selected from the Prints & Photographs Division; selections from the Artist’s Book Collection and the Fine Press collection from the Rare Book and Special Collections Division; and comics from the Small Press Expo Collection and items from the Historic Events Newspaper Collections of the Serial and Government Publications Division.


Title page portrait of William Shakespeare by Martin Droeshout from the First Folio, 1623. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Leaving the Jefferson building, cross 2nd Street and you will find a white marble Art Deco building – the Folger Shakespeare Library. Celebrating Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday in 2014, the Folger is home to the world’s largest and finest collection of Shakespeare materials. The strength of the collections is material on William Shakespeare and the theater up to the present day, and early modern materials in the West from 1450 until the mid-1700s. Since opening in 1932 the Folger has continued to acquire significant holdings that make it a world-class research center on the early modern age. ARLIS/NA attendees will be able to view “some of our favorite things” from the Folger’s collections. A special exhibition titled Shakespeare’s the Thing emphasizes Shakespeare’s influence on visual art, performance, and scholarship with items selected by Folger staff, including a look at how fans have celebrated Shakespeare from his time to ours. From the 1623 Shakespeare First Folio to a famous forgery, from early editions of the plays to a modern digital app, from a board game to a Sanskrit translation of Hamlet, and from stage performances to fine art, William Shakespeare has touched every facet of culture.

And when you’re done with the libraries, make good use of our guide to Capitol Hill for tips on shopping and dining in the area!

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Local Libraries Open House – National Mall Edition

Hop on the Metro’s blue and orange lines and get off at the Smithsonian station, exiting on the National Mall, for five of the libraries participating in the May 5th Local Libraries Open House.

Interior of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, located south of the National Mall, on 14th Street, S.W., in Washington, D.C. Credit: Creative Commons.

From the metro, walk about a quarter of a mile to the United States Holocaust Museum Memorial Library. The Library’s display will include a sampling of its art-related holdings, which include reproductions and art catalogs of works by victims and survivors, works about “degenerate art,” anti-Semitic and anti-Nazi caricatures, illustrated Judaic publications from the Holocaust-era and immediate aftermath, graphic novels, commemorative works, and secondary sources on looted art and restitution efforts. Also participating in the open house is the USHMM’s Art and Artifact Cataloging (A&A) Project, an ongoing, comprehensive, retrospective project to catalog the artifactual portions of the Museum’s collections. The A&A Project will display a small selection of original artifacts as part of a digital exhibit on the challenges of object cataloging within the museum environment.

From the USHMM, walk back towards the Mall and you will come to three Smithsonian libraries all in a row: the Freer|Sackler Library, the National Museum of African Art Library, and the Hirshhorn Museum Library. The Freer|Sackler Library will feature selections from the library’s Japanese rare book collection, which encompasses roughly 400 volumes, including woodblock-printed illustrated books and manuscripts mainly from the Edo (1600-1868) and Meiji periods (1868-1912). Many of the illustrations in this rare book collection are by major artists such as Hiroshige, Hokusai and Utamaro, and feature such subjects as theater, courtesans, travel guidebooks, and drawing sample books.

Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art entrance in the Enid Haupt Garden. Credit: Creative Commons.

Next door is the National Museum of African Art. Librarian Janet Stanley will show artists’ books as part of a planned exhibition of African artists’ books at the National Museum of African Art.  The art on the walls of the Library offer many works of contemporary African art that are not from the Museum’s permanent collection, so there will be plenty of art to look at in addition to the artists’ books.  The stacks are open in case visitors want to wander around or pull things out and sit down to browse through.

Your next stop one museum over is the Hirshhorn Museum Library. Devoted to modern and contemporary painting, sculpture, drawings, prints, photography, video, film and emerging art forms, the Library has books and related from 1880 to the present. The Library will display artists’ books by Mungo Thomson, Richard Long, Tacita Dean, Ellen Gallagher, and Adrian Piper. Drop by to see memorabilia from Joseph Hirshhorn, including his bow ties and brief case, a Christmas photograph from the Lyndon Johnson family, a photograph of Bill Clinton and Chelsea in the Sculpture Garden, and materials from the artist files.

National Gallery of Art, East Building, Washington D.C., USA. Credit: Fritz Geller-Grimm, Creative Commons.

Diagonally across the Mall from the Hirshhorn is the National Gallery of Art Library. The NGA Library contains a wide-ranging collection of more than 400,000 books and periodicals on the history, theory, and criticism of art and architecture. The library’s department of image collections is a study and research center for images of Western art and architecture and is one of the largest of its kind, numbering almost 14 million photographs, slides, negatives, microforms, and digital images. The rare book room contains early source materials on the history of art and architecture as well as books with original prints and drawings, fine illustrations, and special bindings. On view will be selections from the Library’s image collections and rare book room, as well as the exhibition, Deforming and Adorning with Annotations and Marginalia.

If you find yourself hungry even after filling up on knowledge at all five of these open houses, scope your best bets for lunch on our guide to the National Mall.

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New Tour Added: Society of the Cincinnati

Anderson House at 2118 Massachusetts Avenue, NW in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The building is the headquarters of the Society of the Cincinnati and is a National Historic Landmark.

The Tour Coordinators were able to wrangle one more FREE tour on Thursday May 1st for ARLIS/NA attendees at the Society of the Cincinnati. Sign up using this form—first come, first served!

Details on SCHED.

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The DC Metro: What You Need to Know about Fares

As you may know by now, the ARLIS/NA 2014 Conference Hotel, the Grand Hyatt Washington (1000 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20001) is conveniently located on Washington, DC’s Metrorail system, as are many museums, restaurants, and other attractions. We encourage conference participants to take advantage of Washington’s safe, clean, and easy-to-use public transit system!

Paying for Metro fare requires either a disposable fare card or the permanent rechargeable SmarTrip card.  We recommend purchasing the SmarTrip card—it makes riding Metro faster and cheaper, and is also a nice conference souvenir!

SmarTrip cards may be purchased at Metro station kiosks, area retail stores such as CVS, or online.  The base cost is $10, which includes the $2 card cost and $8 in stored value.  After one round trip ride, the card pays for itself: SmarTrip users save $1 on each ride!  Ride prices with SmarTrip generally cost in the range of $2 to $3, with increased fares weekdays from opening to 9:30 a.m. and between 3:00 and 7:00 p.m.

SmartTrip cards can also be used to pay for Metrobus and Circulator bus service.

To refill your SmarTrip (or purchase a paper fare card) use fare card machines in any station—they take cash, credit, or debit.  Touch your SmartTrip to the SmarTrip target and follow the prompts.

To enter the Metrorail system, simply touch your SmarTrip to the target on the fare gate (or insert paper fare card).  Remember, you will also need to touch your SmarTrip or insert your paper fare card on the way out, so keep it handy.

When in doubt, ask a station manager or fellow Metro riders for help.  Happy riding!

Shira Loev Eller , Part-Time Reference and Instruction Librarian at the Corcoran Library
and Adjunct Professor of Art History at Northern Virginia Community College

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Don’t Forget: Local Libraries Open House

Take the opportunity to attend our Local Libraries Open House and see something special. We all know the kind of inspiration that can hit visiting fellow institutions, so don’t miss the chance to see some of the country’s most distinguished collections, talk with colleagues, and get up close with special collections, artists’ books, artist files, and memorabilia. Look for profiles of the open houses coming up on the blog.

The following institutions will be open for visitors on Monday, May 5 from 10am to 1pm:

Local Libraries Open House map

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ARLIS/NA 2014 Presents Virtual Conference

In response to much demand, ARLIS/NA is proud to offer a virtual conference option for this year’s annual gathering. One session from each of our conference theme intersections (Of, By, and For the People; Fostering Creativity; Preserve and Protect; and Power and Agency) will be recorded and available online after the conference. Login will be free to conference attendees, otherwise access will be available for purchase. See the details here on the ARLIS/NA website.


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