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1977 National Women's Conference Houston Texas

National Museum of American History
Poster with a map of Houston, Texas, highlighting the buildings used in the 1977 International Women’s Year National Conference.

1986 Année d'Ouverture

National Air and Space Museum
1986 Année d'Ouverture. Color, offset photolithograph print depicting La Villette at night. Partial text: at top, "1986" in blue paint-splattered font with a red square and blue underline, "année d'ouverture" in white sans-serif font. At bottom in a red sans-serif font, "cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie" with a la Villette logo and "Paris, France" in white within a small gray box.

Fly Now: The National Air and Space Museum Poster Collection

Throughout their history, posters have been a significant means of mass communication, often with striking visual effect. Wendy Wick Reaves, the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery Curator of Prints and Drawings, comments that "sometimes a pictorial poster is a decorative masterpiece-something I can't walk by without a jolt of aesthetic pleasure. Another might strike me as extremely clever advertising … But collectively, these 'pictures of persuasion,' as we might call them, offer a wealth of art, history, design, and popular culture for us to understand. The poster is a familiar part of our world, and we intuitively understand its role as propaganda, promotion, announcement, or advertisement."

Reaves' observations are especially relevant for the impressive array of aviation posters in the National Air and Space Museum's 1300+ artifact collection. Quite possibly the largest publicly-held collection of its kind in the United States, the National Air and Space Museum's posters focus primarily on advertising for aviation-related products and activities. Among other areas, the collection includes 19th-century ballooning exhibition posters, early 20th-century airplane exhibition and meet posters, and twentieth-century airline advertisements.

The posters in the collection represent printing technologies that include original lithography, silkscreen, photolithography, and computer-generated imagery. The collection is significant both for its aesthetic value and because it is a unique representation of the cultural, commercial and military history of aviation. The collection represents an intense interest in flight, both public and private, during a significant period of its technological and social development.

Copyright Disclosure for Orphaned Works

Whenever possible, the museum provides factual information about copyright owners and related matters in its records and other texts related to the collections. For many of the images in this collection, some of which were created for or by corporate entities that no longer exist, the museum does not own any copyrights. Therefore, it generally does not grant or deny permission to copy, distribute or otherwise use material in this collection. If identified, permission and possible fees may be required from the copyright owner independently of the museum. It is the user's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions when copying, distributing or otherwise using materials found in the museum's collections. Transmission or reproduction of protected materials beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Users must make their own assessments of rights in light of their intended use.

If you have any more information about an item you've seen in the Fly Now: The National Air and Space Museum Poster Collection, or if you are a copyright owner and believe we have not properly attributed your work to you or have used it without permission, we want to hear from you. Please contact pisanod@si.edu with your contact information and a link to the relevant content.

View more information about the Smithsonian's general copyright policies at http://www.si.edu/termsofuse

1er Salon International de l'Aéronautique

National Air and Space Museum
At top, illustrations of dirigible, balloon and Wright Model. Below, text describes the events at exhibition. Orange, blue ink on paper. Full Text: Automobile Club de France; 1er Salon; International del'Aeronautique Ballons, Dirigeables, Aeroplanes; 24-30 Decembre 1908; Grand Palais Paris.

Fly Now: The National Air and Space Museum Poster Collection

Throughout their history, posters have been a significant means of mass communication, often with striking visual effect. Wendy Wick Reaves, the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery Curator of Prints and Drawings, comments that "sometimes a pictorial poster is a decorative masterpiece-something I can't walk by without a jolt of aesthetic pleasure. Another might strike me as extremely clever advertising … But collectively, these 'pictures of persuasion,' as we might call them, offer a wealth of art, history, design, and popular culture for us to understand. The poster is a familiar part of our world, and we intuitively understand its role as propaganda, promotion, announcement, or advertisement."

Reaves' observations are especially relevant for the impressive array of aviation posters in the National Air and Space Museum's 1300+ artifact collection. Quite possibly the largest publicly-held collection of its kind in the United States, the National Air and Space Museum's posters focus primarily on advertising for aviation-related products and activities. Among other areas, the collection includes 19th-century ballooning exhibition posters, early 20th-century airplane exhibition and meet posters, and twentieth-century airline advertisements.

The posters in the collection represent printing technologies that include original lithography, silkscreen, photolithography, and computer-generated imagery. The collection is significant both for its aesthetic value and because it is a unique representation of the cultural, commercial and military history of aviation. The collection represents an intense interest in flight, both public and private, during a significant period of its technological and social development.

Copyright Disclosure for Orphaned Works

Whenever possible, the museum provides factual information about copyright owners and related matters in its records and other texts related to the collections. For many of the images in this collection, some of which were created for or by corporate entities that no longer exist, the museum does not own any copyrights. Therefore, it generally does not grant or deny permission to copy, distribute or otherwise use material in this collection. If identified, permission and possible fees may be required from the copyright owner independently of the museum. It is the user's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions when copying, distributing or otherwise using materials found in the museum's collections. Transmission or reproduction of protected materials beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Users must make their own assessments of rights in light of their intended use.

If you have any more information about an item you've seen in the Fly Now: The National Air and Space Museum Poster Collection, or if you are a copyright owner and believe we have not properly attributed your work to you or have used it without permission, we want to hear from you. Please contact pisanod@si.edu with your contact information and a link to the relevant content.

View more information about the Smithsonian's general copyright policies at http://www.si.edu/termsofuse

2 Technicians at Console

National Air and Space Museum
2 Technicians at Console, 1974. Page from a spiral-bound sketchbook. A loose sketch of two technicians facing a console as seen from behind. The console is in three main sections that seem to converge in a corner. Writing in the lower right says "Moscow 1974."

In March 1962, James Webb, Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, suggested that artists be enlisted to document the historic effort to send the first human beings to the moon. John Walker, director of the National Gallery of Art, was among those who applauded the idea, urging that artists be encouraged "…not only to record the physical appearance of the strange new world which space technology is creating, but to edit, select and probe for the inner meaning and emotional impact of events which may change the destiny of our race."

Working together, James Dean, a young artist employed by the NASA Public Affairs office, and Dr. H. Lester Cooke, curator of paintings at the National Gallery of Art, created a program that dispatched artists to NASA facilities with an invitation to paint whatever interested them. The result was an extraordinary collection of works of art proving, as one observer noted, "that America produced not only scientists and engineers capable of shaping the destiny of our age, but also artists worthy to keep them company." Transferred to the National Air and Space Museum in 1975, the NASA art collection remains one of the most important elements of what has become perhaps the world's finest collection of aerospace themed art.

The spring of 1962 was a busy time for the men and women of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. On February 20, John H. Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth. For the first time since the launch of Sputnik 1 on October 4, 1957, the U.S. was positioned to match and exceed Soviet achievements in space. NASA was an agency with a mission -- to meet President John F. Kennedy's challenge of sending human beings to the moon and returning them safely to earth by the end of the decade. Within a year, three more Mercury astronauts would fly into orbit. Plans were falling into place for a follow-on series of two-man Gemini missions that would set the stage for the Apollo voyages to the moon.

In early March 1962, artist Bruce Stevenson brought his large portrait of Alan Shepard, the first American to fly in space, to NASA headquarters.(1) James E. Webb, the administrator of NASA, assumed that the artist was interested in painting a similar portrait of all seven of the Mercury astronauts. Instead, Webb voiced his preference for a group portrait that would emphasize "…the team effort and the togetherness that has characterized the first group of astronauts to be trained by this nation." More important, the episode convinced the administrator that "…we should consider in a deliberate way just what NASA should do in the field of fine arts to commemorate the …historic events" of the American space program.(2)

In addition to portraits, Webb wanted to encourage artists to capture the excitement and deeper meaning of space flight. He imagined "a nighttime scene showing the great amount of activity involved in the preparation of and countdown for launching," as well as paintings that portrayed activities in space. "The important thing," he concluded, "is to develop a policy on how we intend to treat this matter now and in the next several years and then to get down to the specifics of how we intend to implement this policy…." The first step, he suggested, was to consult with experts in the field, including the director of the National Gallery of Art, and the members of the Fine Arts Commission, the arbiters of architectural and artistic taste who passed judgment on the appearance of official buildings and monuments in the nation's capital.

Webb's memo of March 16, 1962 was the birth certificate of the NASA art program. Shelby Thompson, the director of the agency's Office of Educational Programs and Services, assigned James Dean, a young artist working as a special assistant in his office, to the project. On June 19, 1962 Thompson met with the Fine Arts Commission, requesting advice as to how "…NASA should develop a basis for use of paintings and sculptures to depict significant historical events and other activities in our program."(3)

David E. Finley, the chairman and former director of the National Gallery of Art, applauded the idea, and suggested that the agency should study the experience of the U.S. Air Force, which had amassed some 800 paintings since establishing an art program in 1954. He also introduced Thompson to Hereward Lester Cooke, curator of paintings at the National Gallery of Art.

An imposing bear of a man standing over six feet tall, Lester Cooke was a graduate of Yale and Oxford, with a Princeton PhD. The son of a physics professor and a veteran of the U.S. Army Air Forces, he was both fascinated by science and felt a personal connection to flight. On a professional level, Cooke had directed American participation in international art competitions and produced articles and illustrations for the National Geographic Magazine. He jumped at the chance to advise NASA on its art program.

While initially cautious with regard to the time the project might require of one of his chief curators, John Walker, director of the National Gallery, quickly became one of the most vocal supporters of the NASA art initiative. Certain that "the present space exploration effort by the United States will probably rank among the more important events in the history of mankind," Walker believed that "every possible method of documentation …be used." Artists should be expected "…not only to record the physical appearance of the strange new world which space technology is creating, but to edit, select and probe for the inner meaning and emotional impact of events which may change the destiny of our race." He urged quick action so that "the full flavor of the achievement …not be lost," and hoped that "the past held captive" in any paintings resulting from the effort "will prove to future generations that America produced not only scientists and engineers capable of shaping the destiny of our age, but also artists worthy to keep them company."(4)

Gordon Cooper, the last Mercury astronaut to fly, was scheduled to ride an Atlas rocket into orbit on May 15, 1963. That event would provide the ideal occasion for a test run of the plan Cooke and Dean evolved to launch the art program. In mid-February, Cooke provided Thompson with a list of the artists who should be invited to travel to Cape Canaveral to record their impressions of the event. Andrew Wyeth, whom the curator identified as "the top artist in the U.S. today," headed the list. When the time came, however, Andrew Wyeth did not go to the Cape for the Cooper launch, but his son Jamie would participate in the program during the Gemini and Apollo years.

The list of invited artists also included Peter Hurd, Andrew Wyeth's brother-in-law, who had served as a wartime artist with the Army Air Force; George Weymouth, whom Wyeth regarded as "the best of his pupils"; and John McCoy, another Wyeth associate. Cooke regarded the next man on the list, Robert McCall, who had been running the Air Force art program, as "America's top aero-space illustrator. Paul Calle and Robert Shore had both painted for the Air Force program. Mitchell Jamieson, who had run a unit of the Navy art program during WW II, rounded out the program. Alfred Blaustein was the only artist to turn down the invitation.

The procedures that would remain in place for more than a decade were given a trial run in the spring of 1963. The artists received an $800 commission, which had to cover any expenses incurred while visiting a NASA facility where they could paint whatever interested them. In return, they would present their finished pieces, and all of their sketches, to the space agency. The experiment was a success, and what might have been a one-time effort to dispatch artists to witness and record the Gordon Cooper flight provided the basis for an on-going, if small-scale, program. By the end of 1970, Jim Dean and Lester Cooke had dispatched 38 artists to Mercury, Gemini and Apollo launches and to other NASA facilities.

The art program became everything that Jim Webb had hoped it would be. NASA artists produced stunning works of art that documented the agency's step-by-step progress on the way to the moon. The early fruits of the program were presented in a lavishly illustrated book, Eyewitness to Space (New York: Abrams, 1971). Works from the collection illustrated NASA publications and were the basis for educational film strips aimed at school children. In 1965 and again in 1969 the National Gallery of Art mounted two major exhibitions of work from the NASA collection. The USIA sent a selection of NASA paintings overseas, while the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service created two exhibitions of NASA art that toured the nation.

"Since we …began," Dean noted in a reflection on the tenth anniversary of the program, the art initiative had resulted in a long string of positive "press interviews and reports, congressional inquiries, columns in the Congressional Record, [and] White House reports." The NASA effort, he continued, had directly inspired other government art programs. "The Department of the Interior (at least two programs), the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Army and even the Veterans Administration have, or are starting, art programs." While he could not take all of the credit, Dean insisted that "our success has encouraged other agencies to get involved and they have succeeded, too."(5)

For all of that, he noted, it was still necessary to "defend" the role of art in the space agency. Dean, with the assistance of Lester Cooke, had been a one-man show, handling the complex logistics of the program, receiving and cataloguing works of art, hanging them himself in museums or on office walls, and struggling to find adequate storage space. In January 1976, a NASA supervisor went so far as to comment that: "Mr. Dean is far too valuable in other areas to spend his time on the relatively menial …jobs he is often burdened with in connection with the art program."(6) Dean placed a much higher value on the art collection, and immediately recommended that NASA officials either devote additional resources to the program, or get out of the art business and turn the existing collection over the National Air and Space Museum, "where it can be properly cared for."(7)

In January 1974 a new building for the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) was taking shape right across the street from NASA headquarters. Discussions regarding areas of cooperation were already underway between NASA officials and museum director Michael Collins, who had flown to the moon as a member of the Apollo 11 crew. Before the end of the year, the space agency had transferred its art collection to the NASM. Mike Collins succeeded in luring Jim Dean to the museum, as well.

The museum already maintained a small art collection, including portraits of aerospace heroes, an assortment of 18th and 19th century prints illustrating the early history of the balloon, an eclectic assortment of works portraying aspects of the history of aviation and a few recent prizes, including several Norman Rockwell paintings of NASA activity. With the acquisition of the NASA art, the museum was in possession of one of the world's great collections of art exploring aerospace themes. Jim Dean would continue to build the NASM collection as the museum's first curator of art. Following his retirement in 1980, other curators would follow in his footsteps, continuing to strengthen the role of art at the NASM. Over three decades after its arrival, however, the NASA art accession of 2,091 works still constitutes almost half of the NASM art collection.

(1) Stevenson's portrait is now in the collection of the National Air and Space Museum (1981-627)

(2) James E. Webb to Hiden Cox, March 16, 1962, memorandum in the NASA art historical collection, Aeronautics Division, National air and Space Museum. Webb's preference for a group portrait of the astronauts was apparently not heeded. In the end, Stevenson painted an individual portrait of John Glenn, which is also in the NASM collection (1963-398).

(3) Shelby Thompson, memorandum for the record, July 6, 1962, NASA art historical collection, NASA, Aeronautics Division.

(4) John Walker draft of a talk, March 5, 1965, copy in NASA Art historical collection, NASM Aeronautics Division.

(5) James Dean, memorandum for the record, August 6, 1973, NASA art history collection, NASM Aeronautics Division.

(6) Director of Planning and Media Development to Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs, January 24, 1974, NASA art history collection, NASM Aeronautics Division.

(7) James Dean to the Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs, January 24, 1974, copy in NASA Art history Collection, Aeronautics Division, NASM.

Tom D. Crouch

Senior Curator, Aeronautics

National Air and Space Museum

Smithsonian Institution

July 26, 2007

2. Kurin Meets Joseph Henry - (Re)Presenting America: The Evolution of Culturally Specific Museums

National Museum of the American Indian
A conversation between Joseph Henry, First Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and Richard Kurin, Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture, Smithsonian Institution. Dwane Starlin, enactor of Joseph Henry (director, Samuel Xavier Carnegie). The National Museum of the American Latino Commission's report recommending the establishment of a Smithsonian National Museum of the American Latino prompts debate concerning the value of "ethnic" or "culturally specific" museums. Thoughtful people ask whether the proliferation of museums dedicated to particular experiences or cultures contributes to the "balkanization" of the United States. Others observe that traditional museums have not represented our country's people and their achievements as fully as they should be. Ethnic/culturally specific museums, they note, provide different portals into what it means to be an American, and their programs provide depth and fullness of perspective, enriching our national narrative. These are serious questions that the Smithsonian seeks to address in a comprehensive, insightful way. By presenting various facets of the existence and practices of "ethnic/culturally specific" museums at the Smithsonian and elsewhere, this special symposium advances a vital discussion of a challenging subject. It provides an important step toward understanding the history of museums in matters of race, the development of "ethnic/culturally specific" museums, and the development of a cogent philosophy on these museums. #CulturalMuseums

2.8 Million Stars Sparkle in This Incredible Image of the Milky Way

Smithsonian Magazine

This week, the European Space Agency released a series of breathtaking images captured by its Gaia star-surveyor: hi-res slices of the heavens that show an estimated 2.8 million stars, reports Deborah Byrd at Earth & Sky.

The image was taken on February 7, 2017, and depicts a region of the Milky Way galaxy two degrees below the galactic center. This particular view, which was taken the direction of the constellation Sagittarius, has a relatively low amount of interstellar dust, giving Gaia a good line of sight to the inner sanctum of our galaxy.

This region of the Milky Way has a density of 4.6 million stars per square degree, according to a press release. Since the images cover 0.6 square degrees of the sky, there should be roughly 2.8 million points of light in the picture—but no one has counted them.

The Gaia instrument was launched by the ESA in 2013 on a five-year mission to map 1 billion stars, or roughly 1 percent of the Milky Way to help astronomers make a detailed map of our galaxy. Byrd explains that Gaia studies the motions of individual stars using a technique called astrometry. By cataloguing and analyzing the movements of those stars, researchers hope to better understand the evolution of the Milky Way and learn what’s in store over the next few millions of years.

Most of the time Gaia is pretty discriminating, only sending down data on the stars it studies. But according to the press release, Gaia occasionally finds regions of space that are so jam packed that measuring the motion of individual stars is very difficult. Instead, it sends down a data dump-image of the whole area. That’s what it did with the current mega-star image, which researchers plan to analyze over time.

Despite its short stay in space, Gaia is already reshaping our view of the universe. Researchers released its first catalogue of 1 billion stars, collected over 14 months of observations, in September 2016. A second catalogue will be released in 2018 and, if its five-year mission is extended, subsequent sets in 2020 and 2022. 

Research based on that first catalogue appeared in Astronomy & Astrophysics just last week. As Shannon Hall at Sky & Telescope reports, after analyzing some of the Gaia data, researchers have discovered that one star in particular, Gliese 710, will pass through the inner Oort Cloud, a shell of icy debris surrounding the solar system in around 1.3 million years. Gliese 710 will be about 16,000 astronomical units away from the sun. While that’s not close enough to scorch the Earth, a star passing through the Oort cloud is not ideal. Researchers aren’t sure yet if Gliese is massive enough to stir up the rock and ice in the cloud. If it is, it could be catastrophic, sending 100 times more comets than normal into the Solar System, leading to some epic planetary smash-ups.  

“You don't want a Category 4 storm coming close to a population center and then just sitting,” Eric Mamajek of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, not involved in the study, tells Hall. “And it's the same thing for a massive star passing through the Oort cloud.”

The researchers also found that on average, 87 stars come within 6.5 light-years of the sun every million years, meaning there’s much more “stellar traffic” in our area of space than previously believed.

There are likely many other similar stories locked in the Gaia data waiting to be told. But it may take some time. According to the ESA, the star mapper will send down enough data to fill 1.5 million CD-ROMs over five years, which need to be processed on Earth before it can be fully analyzed.

20 Dollars, United States, 1907

National Museum of American History
Someone once observed that a giraffe was a horse designed by a committee. The same might be said of this coin: what had seemed a good idea around a table in the boardroom proved to be an interesting but spectacular flop as it neared production.

The coin resulted from a project that President Theodore Roosevelt began in 1905 to redesign American coinage. He commissioned sculptor August Saint-Gaudens to create the new designs, and Saint-Gaudens developed a plan for an ultra-high relief $20 coin. The coin here, which appears to have been struck early in 1907, followed Saint-Gaudens' basic designs, but there the similarities ended.

This experimental coin contained twenty dollars' worth of gold, but it was squeezed into a coin the width of a ten-dollar piece. The discrepancy was handled by making the patterns much thicker than ordinary coins. Staff at the Mint wondered whether it was possible to decrease the diameter to have the best of both worlds: a coin in glorious high relief that didn't take quite as many blows of the press to create. The experiment failed. Although the patterns were unacceptable for commerce, word of their existence leaked out to the collecting community. An exasperated Mint Director wanted them called in and melted down. Somehow two escaped. Both are in the Smithsonian Collection.

20 Dollars, United States, 1907

National Museum of American History
Someone once observed that a giraffe was a horse designed by a committee. The same might be said of this coin: what had seemed a good idea around a table in the boardroom proved to be an interesting but spectacular flop as it neared production.

The coin resulted from a project that President Theodore Roosevelt began in 1905 to redesign American coinage. He commissioned sculptor August Saint-Gaudens to create the new designs, and Saint-Gaudens developed a plan for an ultra-high relief $20 coin. The coin here, which appears to have been struck early in 1907, followed Saint-Gaudens' basic designs, but there the similarities ended.

This experimental coin contained twenty dollars' worth of gold, but it was squeezed into a coin the width of a ten-dollar piece. The discrepancy was handled by making the patterns much thicker than ordinary coins. Staff at the Mint wondered whether it was possible to decrease the diameter to have the best of both worlds: a coin in glorious high relief that didn't take quite as many blows of the press to create. The experiment failed. Although the patterns were unacceptable for commerce, word of their existence leaked out to the collecting community. An exasperated Mint Director wanted them called in and melted down. Somehow two escaped. Both are in the Smithsonian Collection.

20 lire View of Torun single

National Postal Museum
On June 19, 1973, Vatican City issued four stamps commemorating Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, whose observations inspired the Gregorian calendar used today.

Copernicus was born in Thorn in 1473 and died at Frauenburg in 1543. His uncle, the bishop of Ermland, sent him to the University of Cracow, where he studied mathematics. The bishop made him a canon of the Cathedral of Frauenburg. He studied medicine at Padua and received a Canon Law degree at Ferrara. He returned to Poland in 1503, but was called to the Lateran Council in 1514 to reform the calendar.

In Poland, Copernicus followed a program of astronomical observations and published twenty-seven papers between 1497 and 1529. He rejected Ptolemy's accepted theory that the earth is the center of the solar system, instead proposing that the planets revolve around the sun. Copernicus developed his heliocentric theory and published "On the Revolution of Heavenly Bodies" in 1543. Pope Clement VII (1478-1534) initially approved his work, but when he tried to publish his work at the age of 68, he met resistance.

On June 17, 1973, all the bishops of Poland and Cardinal Franz Koenig of Vienna were present at a Mass for the celebration of the five hundredth anniversary of the birth of Copernicus, in the Cathedral of Frombork, Poland, where Copernicus had been a canon.

The 20-lire and 100-lire stamps show a view of the city of Thorn in the diocese of Chelmno, copied from an original in the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. The Legend reads, "Nicolaus Copernicus, Thorn 1473." The 50-lire and 130-lire show a portrait of Copernicus from a painting in the National Library of Austria. The legend reads, "Nicolaus Copernicus 1473-1543".

The stamps were printed by the Austrian State Printing Works in Vienna. 1,400,000 sets were printed on white paper, without a watermark, with perforations of 14 x 14. They have unlimited validity.

Reference:

"Nicolcaus Capernicus." Vatican Notes 22, no. 2 (September-October 1973): 2-4.

200 lire Surveying the Globe single

National Postal Museum
On November 23, 1982, Vatican City issued a series of stamps and a souvenir sheet to commemorate the fourth centenary of the reform of the Gregorian calendar, which occurred in 1582. The series consists of three values -- 200-, 300-, and 700-lire. The designs, engraved by Antonello Ciaburro, are based on bas-reliefs sculpted on the tomb of Pope Gregory VIII (d. 1187), St. Peter's Basilica.

The Gregorian calendar corrected a major error in the existing Julian calendar, which Julius Caesar introduced in 46 B.C. The Julian calendar was 365 1/4 days long and the actual solar year was 365.2422 days. This meant that the Julian calendar exceeded the solar year by eleven minutes and fourteen seconds each year. This difference grew with each successive century, and by the late sixteenth century, the Julian calendar was ten full days longer than the solar calendar.

The Council of Trent (1545-1563) recognized that this growing deviation affected the liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church. Religious feast days no longer conformed to the guidelines established by the Council of Nicaea, 325 AD. For example, Easter, intended as a spring observance, would ultimately occur in the summer.

Pope Gregory XIII (1502-1585), elected in 1572, organized the necessary reform of the calendar. In 1577, he formed an international commission of distinguished experts to determine the necessary corrections. The commission approved a calendar worked-out by Luigi Lilius (d. 1576), a Neapolitan astronomer who had discovered that the Julian Calendar was ten days too long. In 1579, the pope ordered the construction of the first astronomical observatory at the Vatican. Here the commission completed the final details of calendar reform, including a more accurate lunar almanac. These details were largely the work of the German Jesuit Christopher Clavius (1537?-1612), a noted astronomer and mathematician.

Papal edict proclaimed the new Gregorian Calendar in February of 1582. This edict declared that the day after Thursday, October 4, 1582, would be Friday, October 15, thus dropping ten days and bringing the calendar in line with the solar year. The pope also approved an important reform involving leap years. Every fourth year would continue as a leap year, with an extra day in February. However, years ending in two zeroes would be leap years only if divisible by 400. In this manner, three days dropped every four centuries, thus avoiding major deviation from the solar year.

The stamps, vertical in format, measure 30 x 40 mm and have a perforation of 13 1/4 x 14. Along the top of each stamp appear the inscription "1582-1982" and the denomination. The words POSTE VATICANE appear along the bottom. The stamps were produced on white paper and printed in recess in sheets of forty. The Polygraphic Institute and Mint of the Italian State printed 900,000 complete .

"Calendar Reform." Vatican Notes 31, no. 4 (January 1983): 1, 8.

200-Million-Year-Old Fossil Captures Squid Viciously Entangled With Its Prey

Smithsonian Magazine

Paleontologists have discovered a vicious undersea attack frozen in stone for nearly 200 million years. In the fossil’s hardened sediments, an ancient squid-like creature called Clarkeiteuthis montefiorei has its prey wrapped up in tentacles studded with hooks, according to a statement from the University of Plymouth. The skull of the herring-like fish Dorsetichthys bechei appears to have been violently crushed, perhaps by the cephalopod’s beak.

Researchers aren’t sure how the deadly drama came to be preserved just before its denouement, but the find may be the earliest known example of a squid-like predator attacking its prey.

“The predation is off-the-scale in terms of rare occurrence,” Malcom Hart, a paleontologist emeritus at the University of Plymouth who led the research, tells George Dvorsky of Gizmodo. “There are only a very few specimens—between five to 10—known from the Jurassic, and this is the only one from this stratigraphical level in Dorset. It is also the oldest known in any part of the world.”

The full fossil with the body of the squid on the left and the fish to the right. (Hart et al., Proceedings of the Geologists' Association)

The 23-inch fossil at the center of the new analysis, which has been accepted for publication in the journal Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, was first unearthed in the 19th century from the Jurassic coast (also known as the Dorset coast) of southern England. Following its discovery, the specimen was housed in the collections of the British Geological Survey.

"I was going through some new material in a private collection, and was told that this specimen was on loan to Lyme Regis Museum," Hart tells Rosie McCall of Newsweek. "I recognized it immediately for what was there—the ink sack of the squid—and the fish being held by the arms of the squid. The previous week I had been looking at a paper that mentioned the 'oldest' known example of such predation—and here I was looking at something a few millions of years older."

The researchers say this fossil dates back to the Sinemurian period, roughly 190 million years ago, predating what was thought to be the oldest example of such an interaction by some 10 million years, according to the paper.

The researchers offer two possible explanations for how this prehistoric pair came to be preserved in a tentacled embrace.

The first is that the Clarkeiteuthis, an extinct type of internal-shelled cephalopod called a belemnoid, bit off more than it could chew. In this scenario, the fish was so large that it became stuck in the jaws of the Clarkeiteuthis, which then sank to the seafloor under the weight of a dinner it could not eat and was preserved in the mud.

The second theory is that the squid intentionally sank itself and its prey to the bottom to avoid being eaten itself while feeding—a behavior observed in living squid called “distraction sinking.” The researchers hypothesize that as the animals sank they entered water that was so low in oxygen they suffocated and were eventually preserved on the bottom.

Hart tells Gizmodo that it’s surprising that these dead combatants didn’t wind up eaten by something else before being encased in sediment.

"Fossils that show the interaction between predators and prey are very rare— but other examples of this exact species of belemnoid having captured fish during the last moments of their life are known and written about in the literature," Thomas Clements, a paleontologist at the University of Birmingham who was not involved in the research, tells Newsweek. However, he adds, “the fossil does show that potentially, some belemnoid cephalopods had eyes too big for their belly!"

2011 National Design Awards: People's Design Award - Design Matters on Design Observer

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
The 2011 People's Design Award goes to Design Matters on Design Observer. Created by Debbie Millman, Design Matters is a free podcast about design and culture. Featuring interviews with designers, artists, and cultural leaders, the show offers incredible insight into the lives and careers of some of the greatest design minds. The show is now exclusively published on Design Observer and all broadcasts can be downloaded for free on iTunes. The People's Design Award is part of a wide range of Cooper-Hewitt programs and events that engage all audiences with design.

227739.1956.X7

National Museum of American History
Republican Dwight Eisenhower and Democrat Adlai Stevenson first ran against each other for president in 1952. That year the Tobacco Blending Corporation of Louisville, Kentucky produced cigarettes for both parties, the first time cigarettes were marketed as campaign items. Because the cigarettes promoting eventual winner Eisenhower outsold those featuring his opponent, a company spokesman observed that “the number of packs we sold was a better indication of how the election would turn out than the polls.”

24,000 Documents Detailing Life of Landscape Architect Frederick Law Olmsted Now Available Online

Smithsonian Magazine

When 19th-century landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted was 14 years old, his natural affinity for the rural New England outdoors took a dangerous turn when a brush with poison sumac left him half-blinded. With long-held plans to attend Yale University put on hold, Olmsted set out to explore the world—a task he doggedly pursued over the next 20 years, long after his eyesight improved.

During that time, Olmsted worked as an apprentice on a tea ship bound for China, traveled the American South to report on slaveholding states for the New York Times, ran a farm on Staten Island and joined his younger brother on a European expedition. Then, in 1857, Olmsted returned his gaze to the natural world, nabbing a position as superintendent of the soon-to-be developed Central Park. He spent the next five decades ensconced in the art and science of natural spaces, garnering widespread acclaim as the landscape architect behind sites ranging from the Vanderbilt family’s North Carolina Biltmore estate to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and the United States Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

Now, as preparation for the bicentennial of Olmsted’s 1822 birth ramps up, Artdaily.org reports that the Library of Congress has digitized its collection of roughly 24,000 Olmsted papers, including journals, personal correspondence, project proposals and miscellaneous materials related to his private and professional life. Together, the documents reveal a highly intimate portrait of the famed urban and suburban planner, conservationist and writer, who is best-known today as the founder of landscape architecture and an early believer in the soothing effects of natural oases hidden amongst urban sprawl.

The collection contains roughly 47,300 scanned images dating between 1777 and 1952, although the bulk of materials date between 1838 and 1903, the year of Olmsted’s death at age 81. Given the sheer breadth of available documents, the LOC has provided a guide that links visitors directly to desired content, whether it’s a horde of papers regarding the Columbian Exposition (also known as the Chicago World's Fair) or early drafts of an unpublished history of the United States.

Artdaily.org notes that additional collection highlights include a pencil sketch diagram of plantings for the Capitol grounds, a letter to Olmsted’s wife, Mary Cleveland Perkins Olmstead, detailing the trials endured by soldiers fighting in the Civil War and a preliminary report on the preservation of Yosemite and California’s giant sequoias.

John Singer Sargent, "Frederick Law Olmsted," 1895 (Wikimedia Commons)

The newly digitized papers offer an array of insights on the architect’s aesthetic theories, which he enumerated in private and public writings alike. Olmsted strongly believed there were distinct differences between a garden and a park, distinguishing the latter by the “spaciousness and the broad, simple, and natural character of its scenery.” All elements of an Olmsted landscape served a purpose; excessive ornamentation—often found in gardening—he saw as nothing less than “barbarous.” Ultimately, Olmsted aimed to wield unconscious influence over viewers with his creations. As he once explained, “Gradually and silently the charm comes over us; we know not exactly where or how.”

An Olmsted public space always followed several guiding principles, The Atlantic’s Nathaniel Rich explains: First, the park should complement the city in which it is housed. Second, the park should be faithful to the character of its natural landscape—for example, palm trees had no place in a New England park. Unsurprisingly, Olmsted also believed that man-made structures should only be included if absolutely necessary.

There’s a certain irony within this ideation. As Rich observes, “It takes a lot of artifice to create convincing ‘natural’ scenery. … [His designs] are not imitations of nature so much as idealizations, like the landscape paintings of the Hudson River School. Each Olmsted creation was the product of painstaking sleight of hand, requiring enormous amounts of labor and expense.”

In 1895, encroaching senility led Olmsted to retire. He was admitted to a Massachusetts hospital, ironically one whose grounds he had once planned to design, and died there in 1903.

Only a decade before, Olmsted had designed the grounds of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, the so-called “White City” that attracted some 25 million enraptured viewers. In a speech on the success of the Chicago exposition, Daniel Burnham, an architect and urban planner who served as director of the fair, lauded Olmsted's vision as a landscape designer. “[He is] an artist,” said Burnham, “he paints with lakes and wooded slopes; with lawns and banks and forest covered hills; with mountain sides and ocean views."

250 lire Rotary Press single

National Postal Museum
On July 4, 1961, the Vatican issued three stamps to mark the centenary of the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano (The Roman Observer.) The stamps remained valid for postage until September 30, 1962.

The 40-lire value, printed in red brown and black, illustrates the mastheads of the first issue and the issue of June 29, 1961. The home of The Roman Observer is depicted on the 70-lire stamp, which was printed in light blue and black. The 250-lire denomination has as its design a modern press on which the newspaper was printed at the time of this stamp issue. Yellow and black were the colors chosen for this stamp.

All stamps were designed by Piero Grassellini and printed by the photogravure method at the State Printing Office, Rome. The stamps were arranged in panes of forty (5 x 8) with the inscription at the top of the pane reading one sheet of forty stamps, Value ___ Lire. The stamps were valid for postage until September 30, 1962.

Reference:

Vatican Notes 10, no. 1 (July-August 1961): 1-2.

26,366 Miles to Go!

National Air and Space Museum
26,366 Miles to Go! Framed and matted multicolor illustrated print commemorating the Voyager's non-stop flight. View looking down on a runway where the Voyager lifts off. Full text in black within the white margin at bottom: "26,366 Miles to Go! Dick Rutan delicately eases the heavily laden Voyager off the very end of Runway 04/22 at Edwards AFB, Dec. 14, 1986, on the first ever non-stop, non-refueled Flight Around the World." Reproduction of artist's signature at lower right: "© RAINER HANXLEDEN '96."

Fly Now: The National Air and Space Museum Poster Collection

Throughout their history, posters have been a significant means of mass communication, often with striking visual effect. Wendy Wick Reaves, the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery Curator of Prints and Drawings, comments that "sometimes a pictorial poster is a decorative masterpiece-something I can't walk by without a jolt of aesthetic pleasure. Another might strike me as extremely clever advertising … But collectively, these 'pictures of persuasion,' as we might call them, offer a wealth of art, history, design, and popular culture for us to understand. The poster is a familiar part of our world, and we intuitively understand its role as propaganda, promotion, announcement, or advertisement."

Reaves' observations are especially relevant for the impressive array of aviation posters in the National Air and Space Museum's 1300+ artifact collection. Quite possibly the largest publicly-held collection of its kind in the United States, the National Air and Space Museum's posters focus primarily on advertising for aviation-related products and activities. Among other areas, the collection includes 19th-century ballooning exhibition posters, early 20th-century airplane exhibition and meet posters, and twentieth-century airline advertisements.

The posters in the collection represent printing technologies that include original lithography, silkscreen, photolithography, and computer-generated imagery. The collection is significant both for its aesthetic value and because it is a unique representation of the cultural, commercial and military history of aviation. The collection represents an intense interest in flight, both public and private, during a significant period of its technological and social development.

2me Course de Ballons Montes

National Air and Space Museum
Text only, no image. Letterpress.

Fly Now: The National Air and Space Museum Poster Collection

Throughout their history, posters have been a significant means of mass communication, often with striking visual effect. Wendy Wick Reaves, the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery Curator of Prints and Drawings, comments that "sometimes a pictorial poster is a decorative masterpiece-something I can't walk by without a jolt of aesthetic pleasure. Another might strike me as extremely clever advertising … But collectively, these 'pictures of persuasion,' as we might call them, offer a wealth of art, history, design, and popular culture for us to understand. The poster is a familiar part of our world, and we intuitively understand its role as propaganda, promotion, announcement, or advertisement."

Reaves' observations are especially relevant for the impressive array of aviation posters in the National Air and Space Museum's 1300+ artifact collection. Quite possibly the largest publicly-held collection of its kind in the United States, the National Air and Space Museum's posters focus primarily on advertising for aviation-related products and activities. Among other areas, the collection includes 19th-century ballooning exhibition posters, early 20th-century airplane exhibition and meet posters, and twentieth-century airline advertisements.

The posters in the collection represent printing technologies that include original lithography, silkscreen, photolithography, and computer-generated imagery. The collection is significant both for its aesthetic value and because it is a unique representation of the cultural, commercial and military history of aviation. The collection represents an intense interest in flight, both public and private, during a significant period of its technological and social development.

Copyright Disclosure for Orphaned Works

Whenever possible, the museum provides factual information about copyright owners and related matters in its records and other texts related to the collections. For many of the images in this collection, some of which were created for or by corporate entities that no longer exist, the museum does not own any copyrights. Therefore, it generally does not grant or deny permission to copy, distribute or otherwise use material in this collection. If identified, permission and possible fees may be required from the copyright owner independently of the museum. It is the user's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions when copying, distributing or otherwise using materials found in the museum's collections. Transmission or reproduction of protected materials beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Users must make their own assessments of rights in light of their intended use.

If you have any more information about an item you've seen in the Fly Now: The National Air and Space Museum Poster Collection, or if you are a copyright owner and believe we have not properly attributed your work to you or have used it without permission, we want to hear from you. Please contact pisanod@si.edu with your contact information and a link to the relevant content.

View more information about the Smithsonian's general copyright policies at http://www.si.edu/termsofuse

2nd Pochta

National Air and Space Museum
2nd Pochta, 1875. Advertising, relief print/letterpressposter with text describing attractions at St. Petersburg, Russia Zoological Gardens. Events include orchestra, electric lights, illuminated garden, outdoor fair, gypsy singing, Hungarian and Russian songs, army choir, and gas balloon ascension by aeronaut, Alexander Shperling. Text surrounds block print of balloon, the 2nd Pochta, basked with flags and four passengers. On right side, a grappling hook hangs from pulley.

The Birth of Flight: NASM Collections

The invention of the balloon struck the men and women of the late 18th century like a thunderbolt. Enormous crowds gathered in Paris to watch one balloon after another rise above the city rooftops, carrying the first human beings into the air in the closing months of 1783.The excitement quickly spread to other European cities where the first generation of aeronauts demonstrated the wonder of flight. Everywhere the reaction was the same. In an age when men and women could fly, what other wonders might they achieve.

"Among all our circle of friends," one observer noted, "at all our meals, in the antechambers of our lovely women, as in the academic schools, all one hears is talk of experiments, atmospheric air, inflammable gas, flying cars, journeys in the sky." Single sheet prints illustrating the great events and personalities in the early history of ballooning were produced and sold across Europe. The balloon sparked new fashion trends and inspired new fads and products. Hair and clothing styles, jewelry, snuffboxes, wallpaper, chandeliers, bird cages, fans, clocks, chairs, armoires, hats, and other items, were designed with balloon motifs.

Thanks to the generosity of several generations of donors, the National Air and Space Museum maintains one of the world's great collections of objects and images documenting and celebrating the invention and early history of the balloon. Visitors to the NASM's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles International Airport can see several display cases filled with the riches of this collection. We are pleased to provide visitors to our web site with access to an even broader range of images and objects from this period. We invite you to share at least a small taste of the excitement experienced by those who witness the birth of the air age.

Tom D. Crouch

Senior Curator, Aeronautics

National Air and Space Museum

Present at Creation:

The NASM Collection of Objects Related to Early Ballooning

The invention of the balloon struck the men and women of the late 18th century like a thunderbolt. The Montgolfier brothers, Joseph-Michel (August 26, 1740-June 26, 1810) and Jacques Etienne (January 6, 1745 - August 2, 1799), launched the air age when they flew a hot air balloon from the town square of Annonay, France, on June 4, 1783. Members of a family that had been manufacturing paper in the Ardèche region of France for generations, the Montgolfiers were inspired by recent discoveries relating to the composition of the atmosphere. Joseph led the way, building and flying his first small hot air balloons late in 1782, before enlisting his brother in the enterprise.

Impatient for the Montgolfiers to demonstrate their balloon in Paris, Barthélemy Faujas de Saint-Fond, a pioneering geologist and member of the Académie Royale, sold tickets to a promised ascension and turned the money over to Jacques Alexandre-César Charles (1746-1823), a chemical experimenter whom he had selected to handle the design, construction and launch of a balloon. Charles flew the first small hydrogen balloon from the Champs de Mars, near the present site of the Eiffel Tower, on August 27, 1783. Not to be outdone, the Montgolfiers sent the first living creatures (a sheep, a duck and a rooster) aloft from Versailles on September 19.

Pilatre de Rozier, a scientific experimenter, and François Laurent, the marquis D'Arlandes, became the first human beings to make a free flight on November 21. Less than two weeks later, on December 1, 1783, J.A. C. Charles and M.N. Robert made the first free flight aboard a hydrogen balloon from the Jardin des Tuileries.

A wave of excitement swept across Paris as the gaily decorated balloons rose, one after another, over the skyline of the city. Throughout the summer and fall of 1783 the crowds gathering to witness the ascents grew ever larger. As many as 400,000 people - literally half of the population of Paris -- gathered in the narrow streets around the Château des Tuileries to watch Charles and Robert disappear into the heavens.

The wealthy and fashionable set purchased tickets of admission to the circular enclosure surrounding the launch site. Guards had a difficult time restraining the crush of citizens swarming the nearby streets, and crowding the Place de Louis XV (now the Place de la Concorde) and the garden walkways leading toward the balloon. People climbed walls and clambered out of windows onto roofs in search of good vantage points.

"It is impossible to describe that moment:" wrote one observer of a balloon launch, "the women in tears, the common people raising their hands to the sky in deep silence; the passengers leaning out of the gallery, waving and crying out in joy… the feeling of fright gives way to wonder." One group of spectators greeted a party of returning aeronauts with the question: "Are you men or Gods?" In an age when human beings could fly, what other wonders might the future hold?

The balloons had an enormous social impact. The huge, seething crowds were something new under the sun. The spectators who gathered in such huge numbers were just becoming accustomed to the idea of change. The old certainties of their grandparent's world were giving way to an expectation that the twin enterprises of science and technology would provide the foundation for "progress."

The balloons sparked new fashion trends and inspired new fads and products. Hair and clothing styles, jewelry, snuffboxes, wallpaper, chandeliers, bird cages, fans, clocks, chairs, armoires, hats, and other items, were designed with balloon motifs. Party guests sipped Créme de l' Aérostatique liqueur and danced the Contredanse de Gonesse in honor of the Charles globe.

The Americans who were living in Paris to negotiate a successful conclusion to the American revolution were especially fascinated by the balloons. It seemed only fitting that, at a time when their countrymen were launching a new nation, human beings were throwing off the tyranny of gravity. The oldest and youngest members of the diplomatic community were the most seriously infected with "balloonamania."

"All conversation here at present turns upon the Balloons…and the means of managing them so as to give Men the Advantage of Flying," Benjamin Franklin informed an English friend, Richard Price. Baron Grimm, another Franklin acquaintance, concurred. "Among all our circle of friends," he wrote, "at all our meals, in the antechambers of our lovely women, as in the academic schools, all one hears is talk of experiments, atmospheric air, inflammable gas, flying cars, journeys in the sky."

Franklin noted that small balloons, made of scraped animal membranes, were sold "everyday in every quarter." He was invited to visit a friend's home for "tea and balloons," and attended a fête at which the duc de Chartres distributed "little phaloid balloonlets" to his guests. At another memorable entertainment staged by the duc de Crillon, Franklin witnessed the launch of a hydrogen balloon some five feet in diameter that kept a lantern aloft for over eleven hours.

The senior American diplomat in Paris purchased one of the small balloons as a present for his grandson and secretary, William Temple Franklin. Released in a bed chamber, "it went up to the ceiling and remained rolling around there for some time." Franklin emptied the membrane of hydrogen and forwarded it to Richard Price so that he and Sir Joseph Banks might repeat the experiment. The delightful little toy was thus not only the first balloon to be owned by an American but also the first to reach England. Both Franklins were soon supplying little balloons to friends across Europe.

Sixteen year old John Quincy Adams also took note of the small balloons offered for sale by street vendors. "The flying globes are still very much in vogue," he wrote on September 22. "They have advertised a small one of eight inches in diameter at 6 livres apiece without air [hydrogen] and 8 livres with it. .. Several accidents have happened to persons who have attempted to make inflammable air, which is a dangerous operation, so that the government has prohibited them."

There was a general sense that the colorful globes marked the beginning of a new age in which science and technology would effect startling change. The results and the implications of the revolution in physics and chemistry underway for over a century were largely unknown outside an elite circle of privileged cognoscenti. The balloon was unmistakable proof that a deeper understanding of nature could produce what looked very much like a miracle. What else was one to think of a contrivance that would carry people into the sky?

If human beings could break the age-old chains of gravity, what other restraints might they cast off? The invention of the balloon seemed perfectly calculated to celebrate the birth of a new nation dedicated, on paper at any rate, to the very idea of freedom for the individual. In the decade to come the balloons and the men and women who flew them came to symbolize the new political winds that were blowing through France. While some might question the utility of the "air globes," flight was already reshaping the way in which men and women regarded themselves and their world.

Of course most citizens of Europe and America were unable to travel to see a balloon. They had their first glimpse of the aerial craft through the medium of single sheet prints. In the late 18th century it was difficult and expensive to publish anything more than the roughest of woodcuts in newspapers or magazines. In an effort to share the excitement with those who could not attend an ascent, to let people know what a balloon looked like, and to introduce the brave men and women who were taking to the sky, artists, engravers and publishers flooded the market with scores of single sheet printed images. Ranging from the meticulously accurate to the wildly fanciful, these printed pictures were sold by the thousands in print shops across Europe.

The business of producing and marketing such images was nothing new. In Europe, block prints from woodcuts had been used to produce book illustrations and single sheet devotional or instructional religious images since the mid-15th century. In the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, the technique was used to produce multi-sheet maps, bird's eye images of cities, and other products. In the early modern era, etching and engraving techniques enabled artists from Albrecht Dürer to Rembrandt van Rijn the opportunity to market copies of their paintings. .

In the 1730's. William Hogarth inaugurated a new era in the history of English printed pictures when he published his, "Harlot's Progress," a series of single sheet images charting the downfall of a young woman newly arrived in London. Other sets, including "Marriage à la Mode," appeared in the decade that followed. Other artists used the medium of the etching or engraving to reproduce portraits and offer examples of their work for sale.

By the late 18th century, Thomas Rowlandson, James Gillray and other English artists made considerable fortunes producing sporting prints and satirical images offering biting commentary on the shortcomings of the political and social leaders of the day. Rowlandson was said to have "etched as much copper as would sheathe the British navy." In order to publish his prints and caricatures while they were still newsworthy, Rowlandson worked rapidly. He would water color the first impression, then send it to refugee French artists employed by Rudolph Ackermann, one of his favored publishers, who would color each of the prints before they were hung up in the shop window. In the 1780's a typical print seems to have sold for a shilling, the price being sometimes included on the print itself.

The appearance of the balloon in 1783 provided artists, engravers and publishers in England, France, Germany and Italy a new subject for their efforts. As the wave of balloon enthusiasm swept across the continent, the production and sale of images depicting the great flights and daring aeronauts flourished. In addition to illustrating the birth of the air age, print makers made use of balloon motifs in comic images satirizing political events or social trends.

In the 19th century new lithographic techniques and the advent of improved presses and smooth paper, led to a revolution in the ability to mass produce images. Balloons remained a common subject of interest to readers, and ready material for satire in the talented hands of artists like Honorè-Victorine Daumier.

Today, the balloon prints produced by 18th and 19th century artists remain as a priceless window into the past. They enable us to share some sense of the excitement that gripped those watching their fellow beings rise into the sky for the first time. Engraved portraits tell us something of the appearance, and even the personality, of the first men and women to fly. Satirical prints utilizing balloon motifs help us to understand the impact that flight on the first generations to experience it.

The National Air and Space Museum owes its collection of balloon prints to the generosity of several leading 20th century collectors. The bulk of the prints in our collection come from Harry Frank Guggenheim (August 23, 1890 - January 22, 1971).. The son of industrialist and philanthropist Daniel Guggenheim and his wife Florence, Harry Guggenheim enjoyed multiple careers as a business leader, diplomat, publisher, philanthropist, and sportsman.

Aviation was the thread that tied his diverse activities together. A graduate of Yale and Pembroke College, Cambridge University, he learned to fly before the U.S. entered WW I and served as a Naval aviator during that conflict and as a Naval officer during WW II. In the mid- 1920's, he convinced his father to establish the Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics, which had an enormous impact on aeronautical engineering and aviation in the U.S.

A collector of everything from fine art to thoroughbred horses, Guggenheim began to acquire aeronautica during the 1920's, gradually focusing his attention of aeronautical prints. His collection had grown to be one of the most complete in the world by the 1940's, when he loaned his prints to the New York museum maintained by the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences. When the IAS dissolved its museum in the 1950's, Guggenheim donated his own collection to the National Air and Space Museum.

The NASM collection of aeronautical prints also includes items donated by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and by a number of other private collectors, notably Constance Fiske in memory of her husband Gardiner Fiske, who served with the U.S. Army Air Service during WW I and with the USAAF in WWII; Thomas Knowles, a long-time executive with Goodyear Aircraft and Goodyear Aerospace; and Bella Clara Landauer, one of the great American collectors of aeronautica.

There can be little doubt that William Armistead Moale Burden was one of the most significant contributors to the NASM collection of furnishings, ceramics and other objects related to ballooning and the early history of flight. . Burden began collecting aeronautical literature and memorabilia during the 1920's, while still a Harvard undergraduate. Following graduation he rode the post-Lindbergh boom to prosperity as a financial analyst specializing in aviation securities. His business success was inextricably bound to his enthusiasm for the past, present and future of flight.

By 1939, Burden was reputed to have built a personal aeronautical library second only to that of the Library of Congress. He loaned that collection to the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences, an organization that he served as president in 1949. In addition to his library of aeronautica, Burden built a world-class collection of historic objects dating to the late 18th century - desks, chairs, bureaus, sofas, mirrors, clocks, ceramics and other examples of material culture -- inspired by the first balloons and featuring balloon motifs. After a period on display in the IAS museum, William A.M. Burden's balloon-decorated furnishings and aeronautica went into insured off-site storage in 1959. A member of the Smithsonian Board of Regents, Mr. Burden ultimately donated his treasures to the NASM, as well.

Thanks to the efforts of these and other donors, the NASM can share one of the world's finest collections of works of art and examples of material culture inspired b y the birth of flight with our visitors. We are pleased to extend the reach of our collections to those who visit our web site. Welcome, and enjoy.

Tom D. Crouch

Senior Curator, Aeronautics

National Air and Space Museum

Smithsonian Institution

3 things to know about Benny Carter, an unsung champion of jazz

National Museum of American History

Since 2001, Jazz Appreciation Month (popularly known as "JAM") has encouraged people around the world to spend April celebrating the music form's history and heritage and participating in jazz in some way—listening, playing, or learning. As the original home of JAM, the National Museum of American History selects a jazz musician each year to feature on the annual JAM poster as a salute his or her contributions to jazz. Past posters have featured Billy StrayhornLouis ArmstrongBillie Holiday, and others.

This year, we've chosen performer, bandleader, and composer Benny Carter (1907–2003) as our featured musician for the 2016 JAM poster. Carter, a titan of jazz in many ways, is mainly remembered for his role in promoting the alto saxophone as a lead solo instrument in jazz bands. But his work and multiple instrumental talents have often been overlooked in the larger story of jazz history.

On left, poster image featuring Carter and graphic. On right, photo of Carter smiling, wearing suit, and holding instrument.

Carter donated his archives to the museum in 2000—and this year's poster features a photograph from the Benny Carter Collection, now housed in the museum's Archives Center. We've dug through his archives, notes, and photographs to bring you three interesting facts that you should know about Benny Carter, just in time for Jazz Appreciation Month.

Black and white photo of band playing instruments on a stage

1. Benny Carter may be the only musician to have recorded music on a horn in the 1920s and surfed his own website in the 1990s.

Carter recorded, composed, and performed music for eight decades. His mother taught him how to play piano at an early age, but he was quickly drawn to the trumpet. Aiming to buy a trumpet, the young musician saved for months. But when his first weekend with the instrument didn't make him a trumpet pro, he decided to trade it in for a saxophone.

For the most part, Carter taught himself to play, but he made rapid progress. He went from playing dime dance palaces in New York to sitting in on performances in Harlem nightclubs as a teen. He would later return to and master the trumpet, as well as the trombone, piano, and clarinet.

Carter made his first documented recording in 1928 with bandleader Charlie Johnson. He would continue to produce several records every decade until his last album, Tickle Toe, in 1997. For the first half of his career, Carter played in orchestras, starting in New York, before moving to tour in Europe in 1935. With World War II looming, he returned to New York in 1938 to play regularly with his big band orchestra at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom. In the early 1940s, Carter moved out to the West Coast and transitioned to smaller groups and started his septet with Dizzy Gillespie. In the later decades of his life, he toured as a soloist nationally and in the Middle East and Japan.

Carter was also a celebrated arranger and composer, regarded as one of the principal architects of the big band swing style for his work in the 1920s for the orchestras of Fletcher Henderson, Benny Goodman, Chick Webb, and many others. His composing and arranging work followed him to the West Coast, where he arranged and conducted for film and television, and for almost every major popular singer, including Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Ray Charles, and Louis Armstrong.

Black and white photo: Twelve men in coats and some in hats stand outside the airport, some holding instrument cases.

2. Benny Carter's work broke many racial boundaries for future generations.

When Carter began his musical career in the 1920s, white musicians would occasionally play at African American nightclubs, but African Americans were not allowed to even visit the white nightclubs of New York. For Carter, however, the color of skin did not matter; what mattered was a musician's quality of music. In 1936, Carter became a bandleader for the first interracial, multinational band.

"The point was," he observed, "getting the best musicians available who were interested in doing this gig."

He spent three years touring Europe with this orchestra, which helped spread jazz across the continent. In the 1940s, Carter took his composing and arranging talents to Hollywood, becoming one of the first African Americans to enter the industry and paving the way for others to follow him.

Beyond music, Carter attempted to free himself and other African Americans from racial restrictions. In 1944, Carter and his wife, Ynez, purchased a home in Los Angeles from owners who had signed an agreement to prevent the home from being owned by any non-white person. In a lawsuit on the matter, Carter's neighbor, Edythe Davis, testified that she did not object to having "colored people" as domestic workers in her home, but did not want them as "social equals" in her neighborhood. Carter won the case and in 1948, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that restrictive covenants, such as discrimination in housing practices, were unenforceable in Shelley v. Kraemer.

Headline "Benny Carter Finds A Welcome In Coast Concerts and Movie Studios"

3. Benny Carter was one of the first African Americans to work in the film industry, producing soundtracks for hit films and TV shows.

In 1943, music publisher Irving Mills was co-producing a film called Stormy Weather, and asked Benny Carter to be the film's music arranger. Carter agreed and would wake up early to write for the studio, and then work nights performing and writing songs for his band.

With increasing demands from movie studios, in 1946 Carter disbanded his orchestra to work full time on scoring for motion pictures. He would continue to write for popular shows and movies, including The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952), The Five Pennies (1959), and Buck and the Preacher (1972), and for the televisions series M SquadIronsideThe Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and Bob Hope Presents. By bringing jazz into film soundtracks. Carter helped pave the way for other African American music arrangers, such as Quincy Jones, to gain respect in film and television music production.

We're honored to feature Benny Carter on the poster this year and feature his music in a special evening performance and in four free daytime concerts right here at the museum. As Duke Ellington once wrote, "the problem of expressing the contributions that Benny Carter has made to popular music is so tremendous, it completely fazes me."

Want to learn more about this giant of jazz? Interested in the JAM 2016 poster? Stop by the Jazz Appreciation Month page to listen to Benny Carter’s oral history, request your own copy of the poster for Jazz Appreciation Month while supplies last, and mark your calendar for our concert series.

Regan Shrumm is an intern in the Division of Culture and the Arts. She recently finished her master's degree in Art History and Visual Studies at the University of Victoria.

Meg Salocks works with the jazz and food history programs at the museum. She recommends you sign up for the Smithsonian Jazz Newsletter to learn more and see the upcoming concert schedule.

Author(s): 
Meg Salocks and Regan Shrumm
Posted Date: 
Thursday, March 31, 2016 - 08:00

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3-2-1 Bridge: Project Zero Visible Thinking Routine

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
A Project Zero "Visible Thinking" routine for activating prior knowledge and making connections. This routine asks students to uncover their initial thoughts, ideas, questions, and understandings about a topic and then to connect these to new thinking about the topic after they have received some instruction. The framework asks students to write down 3 thoughts/ideas, 2 questions, and 1 analogy both before and after learning about a topic; then, the framework asks students to explain: “How do your new responses connect to your initial responses?”

3-2-1 BRIDGE

A routine for activating prior knowledge and making connections

Write an initial 3-2-1 set of responses to the topic, then, after studying the topic further, write a new 3-2-1 set of responses:

3 Thoughts/Ideas

2 Questions

1 Analogy

Bridge: Explain how your new responses connect to your initial responses.

Purpose: What kind of thinking does this routine encourage?

This routine asks students to uncover their initial thoughts, ideas, questions, and understandings about a topic and then to connect these to new thinking about the topic after they have received some instruction.

Application: When and where can it be used?

Use this routine when students are developing understanding of a concept over time. It may be a concept that they know a lot about in one context but instruction will soon focus in a new direction, or it may be a concept about which students have only informal knowledge. Whenever new information is gained, bridges can be built between new ideas and prior understanding. Focus is on understanding and connecting one’s thinking, rather than pushing it toward a specific outcome.

Launch: What are some tips for starting and using this routine?

Have students do an initial 3, 2, 1 individually on paper; for instance, if the topic is “democracy,” then students would write down 3 thoughts, 2 questions, and 1 analogy about that topic. Students might then read an article, watch a video, or engage in an activity having to do with democracy. Provocative experiences that push students thinking in new directions are best. After the experience, students complete another 3, 2, 1. Have students share their initial and new thinking, explaining to their partners how and why their thinking shifted. Make it clear to students that their initial thinking is not right or wrong, it is just a starting point, and that new experiences take our thinking in new directions.

3-D Fly-Through of Cassiopeia A (No Audio)

Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
This visualization shows a fly-through of Cas A based on the 3-D representation constructed from Chandra and Spitzer data. It begins with an artists rendition of the neutron star previously detected by Chandra. Next, new features unseen in traditional 2-D data sets are visible, including details of how the parent star exploded. The green region is mostly iron observed in X-rays; the yellow region is mostly argon and silicon seen in X-rays, optical and infrared; the red region is cooler debris seen in the infrared and the blue region is the outer blast wave, most prominent in X-rays.

3-D Images Show Just How Much a Baby’s Head Changes During Birth

Smithsonian Magazine

As anyone who has gingerly handled a new baby will know, infants are born with soft skulls. their heads need to be a bit squishy in order to make it through the relatively narrow birth canal. But the details of “fetal head molding,” as doctors call the shape changes that occurs to babies’ heads during labor, are not well understood. It isn’t easy, after all, to peek inside a mother as she is giving birth.

But as Mindy Weisberger reports for Live Science, researchers in France have done just that. For a new study published in PLOS One, medical experts used 3-D M.R.I. to capture remarkably detailed images of babies’ skulls and brains during advanced stages of labor. Their findings suggest that infants’ little noggins undergo considerable stress during birth—more so than experts had previously thought.

Twenty-seven pregnant women consented to recieving M.R.I. scans before they gave birth, and of those, seven agreed to be scanned during the second stage of labor—the period between when the cervix has dilated to 10 centimeters and the baby is born. The imaging was performed no more than ten minutes before "expulsory effort," or when the baby descends into the birth canal and mother can begin to push. After the images were taken, the mothers were swiftly rushed to the delivery room; “Patient transportation time from the M.R.I. suite to the delivery room in the same building, bed to bed, was less than three minutes,” the study authors note.

Upon comparing the pre-labor and mid-labor images, the researchers were able to see that all seven babies experienced fetal head molding. This means that different parts of the skull overlapped, to varying degrees, during the birthing process. Infants’ skulls are thus comprised of several bony sections, held together by fibrous materials called sutures, that eventually fuse as the baby grows outside the womb. (Researchers know that skull shifting during birth has been happening in humans and their ancestors for millions of years; it's an adaptation to the evolution of larger brains and the switch to upright walking, which altered the shape of the pelvis.)

Three-dimensional finite element reconstruction of the cranial bones before labor and during the second stage of labor (Ami et al., 2019)

Still, the researchers were surprised by just how much babies’ heads were squishing as they moved through the birth canal. “When we showed the fetal head changing shape, we discovered that we had underestimated a lot of the brain compression during birth,” first study author Olivier Ami, an obstetrician and gynecologist at University of Clermont Auvergne in France, tells Erika Edwards of NBC News.

The skulls of five of the babies under observation quickly returned to their pre-birth state, but changes persisted in two of the babies—possibly due to differences in the elasticity of the skull bones and the supporting fibrous material, among other factors. Two of the three babies with the largest degree of head molding still needed to be delivered via C-section, indicating that mothers may not always be able to give birth vaginally, “even when significant fetal molding occurs,” the study authors note.

Interestingly, the third baby among those with the highest degrees of head warping initially scored low on the Apgar test, which is given to babies soon after birth and assesses skin color, pulse, reflexes, muscle tone and breathing rate. By the time the baby was 10 minutes old, however, its score had risen to a perfect 10. The researchers do not yet know how or if ease of delivery—the infant was born vagianally and the delivery was “uncomplicated”—and fetal head molding factors into this “risky clinical presentation,” the study authors note. But it does suggest that we might need to rethink the how we view “normal births,” which are typically defined as natural births that happen with “only a few maternal expulsive efforts.”

“This definition does not take into consideration the ability of the fetal head to deform,” the researchers explain. “If the fetal head’s compliance is high, the skull and brain may undergo significant deformation as the birth canal is crossed, and the child's condition at birth may not be good.”

Revelations about the stresses that come with fetal head molding might also explain why some babies are born with retinal and brain hemorrhages, the latter of which can lead to complications like cerebral palsy, Edwards reports. And though the study is small, the researchers say the high quality imaging could inform efforts to develop a “more realistic simulation of delivery” that will help medical experts predict which mothers are at risk of running into biomechanical complications during childbirth—and intervene before harm comes to the baby.

3-D Visualization of Cassiopeia A

Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
A research team has released a unique look of the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A (Cas A). By combining data from Chandra, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and ground- based optical observations, astronomers have been able to construct the first three-dimensional fly-through of a supernova remnant. This visualization (shown here as a still image) was made possible by importing the data into a medical imaging program that has been adapted for astronomical use. The green region shown in the image is mostly iron observed in X-rays; the yellow region is mostly argon and silicon seen in X-rays, optical and infrared and the red region is cooler debris seen in the infrared. The positions of these points in three-dimensional space were found by using the Doppler effect and simple assumptions about the supernova explosion.

3. Clement Price - (Re)Presenting America: The Evolution of Culturally Specific Museums

National Museum of the American Indian
Race, Identity, and American Museums - Clement Price, Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor, Rutgers University The National Museum of the American Latino Commission's report recommending the establishment of a Smithsonian National Museum of the American Latino prompts debate concerning the value of "ethnic" or "culturally specific" museums. Thoughtful people ask whether the proliferation of museums dedicated to particular experiences or cultures contributes to the "balkanization" of the United States. Others observe that traditional museums have not represented our country's people and their achievements as fully as they should be. Ethnic/culturally specific museums, they note, provide different portals into what it means to be an American, and their programs provide depth and fullness of perspective, enriching our national narrative. These are serious questions that the Smithsonian seeks to address in a comprehensive, insightful way. By presenting various facets of the existence and practices of "ethnic/culturally specific" museums at the Smithsonian and elsewhere, this special symposium advances a vital discussion of a challenging subject. It provides an important step toward understanding the history of museums in matters of race, the development of "ethnic/culturally specific" museums, and the development of a cogent philosophy on these museums. #CulturalMuseums
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