ARLIS/NA Mid-Atlantic

The Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Art Libraries Society of North America

Smithsonian Libraries Lecture: Camouflage: Abbott Handerson Thayer’s “Beautiful Law of Nature”


Join the Smithsonian Libraries on August 24 for

Camouflage: Abbott Handerson Thayer’s
“Beautiful Law of Nature”

a lecture by William Adair,
frame conservator, frame historian, and master gilder, Gold Leaf Studios

Wednesday, August 24, 2016, 6:00pm
Baird Auditorium
National Museum of Natural History
10th St and Constitution Ave NW,
Washington, DC

Please click here to RSVP

For access services, please contact us at or 202.633.2241,
preferably two weeks prior to the program.

Visit our website for more information about this program
and our current exhibition Color in a New Light.

Color in a New Light is made possible by lead sponsor Benjamin Moore & Co.
Additional funding is provided by the Shepherd Color Company.

Smithsonian Libraries Logo (002)

Vacancy Announcement: National Gallery of Art Library

National Gallery of Art Library
Vacancy Announcement

The National Gallery of Art Library is seeking applicants for a student assistant position in the Reader Services Department.

Library Technician (Vertical Files/Non-Print Materials)

The primary purpose of the position is to assist with the maintenance, development, and consultation of the vertical files and non-print collections.

Duties include preparing newly acquired materials for the vertical files and non-print collections, preparing bibliographic records using an online catalog, and assisting with the organization and use of both collections by Gallery staff and outside readers.

Knowledge and Skills:

Applicants should have a basic knowledge of library collections and online catalogs, familiarity with using personal computers, an ability to type and file accurately, and an ability to work cooperatively with other staff members and library patrons. Reading knowledge of a Western European language (French, German, or Italian) is desirable.


In order to qualify for this position, applicants must be registered at least as a half-time student, and be able to provide certification of student status, including a current class schedule. Work schedules will be determined to accommodate the student’s class schedule and the Library’s work requirements. The position is limited to 20 hours per week while classes are in session; full-time employment is available during semester and summer breaks. The incumbent earns sick and annual leave based on the amount of hours worked.

Interested applicants should send résumés and any inquiries by email to:

Lamia Doumato, Head of Reader Services
National Gallery of Art Library

Fall 2016 Internship Opportunities — Smithsonian Libraries

Smithsonian Libraries Fall 2016 Internship Opportunities

Of possible interest to students in graduate library science and museum studies programs:

The Smithsonian Libraries has several great internship projects for Fall 2016! Most are part time opportunities in the DC area. Applications are open until August 5th, or until filled.  Please see the full internship listings on our website ( for additional information. While these are unpaid learning experiences, we are happy to work with students to help them obtain academic credit for their time if his/her school allows.

  • Collections Management for Digitizing Monographs
  • Graphic Design Internship
  • Biodiversity Heritage Library Social Media & Digital Campaign Intern
  • Biodiversity Heritage Library Product Development and Marketing Intern
  • Educational Programs

Erin Clements Rushing
Outreach Librarian
Smithsonian Libraries


Paid Internship Opportunity: Library Collections Intern at Glenstone

SFrances_0660_M18ResizeGlenstone, a museum of modern and contemporary art located 15 miles outside of Washington, DC, is seeking applications for the Library Collections Intern position.

Position Description:
Working under the supervision of the museum Librarian, the Library Collections Intern will be responsible for standardizing legacy library records in the museum’s collections management system, CollectiveAccess, and contribute to collection development. The projects will facilitate improved organization through the identification of items in the collection, as Glenstone prepares to transition the collection into the new library space in the future. Additional projects proposed by the intern are encouraged.

This is a part-time, temporary position of up to 30 hours per week, during regular business hours. There is flexibility in determining the intern’s weekly schedule.

The rate of pay is $15.00 per hour stipend and/or academic credit in line with graduate school requirements.

Application Process:
For more information on the position and the application process, please see the Glenstone Jobs Portal.

Date posted: June 30, 2016

Vacancy Announcement : Librarian, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library, Smithsonian Libraries

Smithsonian Libraries Logo (002)

Vacancy Announcement

Librarian (Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library)
Smithsonian Libraries
Washington, D.C.

The incumbent serves as Librarian of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (HMSG) branch of the Smithsonian Libraries (SIL). The position of Librarian is primarily concerned with the planning and administration of the Museum’s library program and the provision of advanced expert reference and access services.

As Librarian the incumbent coordinates space, equipment, training, collection of data, budget preparations, reference service, access service, inter-library loans, special projects, and service to the modern and contemporary art research community. The Librarian serves in a liaison role for library services for HMSG primarily, and will supervise a library technician.

This is a Federal Civil Service position. For additional details and application instructions go to for position # 16R-RA-301860-DEU-SIL or #16R-RA-301860-MPA-SIL. This job announcement will close at 11:59 pm Eastern Time on either: (A) Monday 7/11/2016 or (B) The date that 250 applications are received; whichever occurs first.

The Smithsonian Institution is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The Smithsonian Institution values and seeks a diverse workforce.


Report from ARLIS/NA+VRA Seattle 2016

Submitted by Sarah Osborne Bender, Visual Resources Curator, American University

As the recipient of the Caroline Backlund Professional Development Award for 2016, I am so grateful to my chapter. The award was particularly poignant this year with the death of Caroline just weeks before the conference in Seattle. I was fortunate to have met Caroline at a chapter meeting a few years back and was treated to entertaining stories of some of her adventurous travels.

This year was a joint conference year, bringing ARLIS/NA and VRA members together. The last time this happened was in Minneapolis in 2011. Both times I truly enjoyed the camaraderie and the expansiveness brought to sessions with both societies represented. Serving as the liaison from ARLIS/NA to VRA, and vice versa, this year’s conference illustrated to me the many ways in which we can work together between these joint conferences and generate productive and lasting collaborations.

The travel award was particularly helpful to me this year because my stay was extended by a couple of days in order to help lead ARLIS/NA’s first ever THATCamp. Taking place the day before official conference activities, THATCamp brought together close to 60 attendees from institutions around the world and a wide variety of backgrounds. Planning a THATCamp is a total blind leap; as a leader you try your best to generate enthusiasm and sense of community in the lead-up to the event, but it is up to the attendees to turn the day into something meaningful. If you have a room full of “I’m just here to listen” attendees, the whole thing falls apart. But we should have known better than to doubt ARLIS/NA and VRA members. Attendees proposed and lead 13 sessions and activities included a substantial workshop on web archiving, a creative “sensory mapping” activity, and what may be the seeds of a linked open data special interest group. Everyone in the room felt proud at the end of the day.

Diving into the conference, I attended sessions and meetings that had a substantial impact on the way I look at my work, my collections, and my career. I was one of many fans of the popular “Scope Drift: New Roles and Responsibilities in Visual Resources” session. It was a great early session and my handwritten notes are filled with stars (my own code to myself that says, “Hey! Be sure to look into this!!”) Kate Thornhill brought good energy to her story of being an embedded librarian in a photography class at Lesley University where she worked with students on things like data management and building their own creative commons license. Annie Solinger and Brian Shelburn from University of Massachusetts, Amherst, also shared ideas from their experience teaching a one-credit tech-based course for students who use images (which could really include all students, as far as I’m concerned.)

“Do It, Make It: Current Initiatives and Advice on Creating a Makerspace”, was more useful than I anticipated. Megan Lotts of Rutgers had fun stories of her experience teaching with Legos. Cynthia Frank (University of Maryland, College Park) discussed introducing architecture students to 3D printing, making herself the link between the class project and the library’s makerspace. Feedback from the faculty was positive. And Chris Strasbaugh, of Vanderbilt University, encouraged us to be assertive in partnering with vendors, manufacturers, local partners to get access to equipment we may not be able to afford on our own. I also loved his idea to use Scalar for makerspace documentation.

“Charmed, I’m Sure: Introducing New Users to Library and Audio Video Materials” presented achievable, even elegant, ideas for making the library an appealing choice for users. Amelia Nelson of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art talked about using Visual Thinking Strategies (something I’ve only heard about in museum educator circles) to jumpstart research. And Rhode Island School of Design’s Ellen Petraits shared a presentation of lovely signage inviting people into the library and towards resources- both print and people- who can help.

Along with my VRA counterpart, Rebecca Moss (University of Minnesota), I led the Digital Humanities SIG meeting. The meeting quickly took off with the membership clearly and enthusiastically letting us know what they want from the SIG. Suggestions included a Slack channel, a knowledge base, a SIG facilitated practicum. Most of all, there was deep agreement, even from society leadership in the room, that keeping the ARLIS/NA and VRA DH SIGs separate is inefficient and that it is worth exploring ways to bring us together. (You can see a bit more about this meeting in my recap posted on the ARLIS/NA DH SIG blog.

Lastly, but not least, I presented alongside Ian McDermott about Artstor’s first foray into crowdsourcing with their D. James Dee Archive, a project they call Arcades. The Dee Archive includes tens of thousands of unidentified photographs of artworks from New York spanning 1970s through 1990s. The effort invites the public to enter any information they can identify about the work (with a built-in Google reverse image search). I had introduced the tool to some students and faculty in the Art Department at American University, as well as other cultural heritage crowdsourcing projects. Our session gave attendees a chance to try Arcades live as well as to listen and take part in a discussion between me and Ian about the kind of decisions involved in the development of a crowdsourcing project, ways to enhance the experience for both the user and the collection host, and other ideas for crowd sourced work. The informal format of our session was a success and I feel that both the attendees and we, as presenters, benefitted from the exchange.

Every ARLIS/NA conference I attend results in a collection of meaningful insights that positively affect the way I work, as well as new connections to colleagues. I am thankful to be part of such a dedicated, creative, generous professional society. Again, I express my thanks to my fellow chapter members who helped me attend this year. I hope that they had the same quality of experience that I did.

Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here DC 2016

AMSSH Street Festival Flyer 3-19-2016

Women of Influence: Elmira Bier, Minnie Byers, and Marjorie Phillips: an archival exhibition in the reading room of the Phillips Collection Library, opens April 8, 2016

Women of Influence: Elmira Bier, Minnie Byers, and Marjorie Phillips examines the critical role that each woman played in the day to day activities of The Phillips Collection, beginning in 1918 [Minnie Byers], 1921 [Marjorie Phillips] and 1923 [Elmira Bier] and continuing until 1963, when Minnie Byers retired, and 1972, when Elmira Bier and Marjorie Phillips retired.

Elmira Bier, Minnie Byers, and Marjorie Phillips

Elmira Bier, Minnie Byers, and Marjorie Phillips


Elmira Bier, who graduated from Goucher College, was Duncan Phillips’s executive assistant from 1923 to 1972. Fiercely protective of Phillips’s time, Bier took on many responsibilities, including serving as the first director of the music program, beginning in 1941. Despite her lack of formal training, Bier quickly established a widely acclaimed concert series that highlighted new performers and innovative music, which paralleled Duncan Phillips’s support of contemporary art. An article about Bier’s role at the Phillips stated that “she ran the place.”


Minnie Byers was a powerful executive before women played that role. With a background in business and knowledge about the stock market, she saved Phillips from the crash of 1929 by telling him to put his money in real estate. She started working for the Phillipses in 1918, initially providing financial advice to Phillips’s mother and later becoming treasurer of the museum. Byers commented, “I have a problem with Duncan. I can’t tell him how much money we have. He’ll go and spend it on works of art.” Byers educated herself and cautioned Phillips to not pay too much for works of art. “I invested their money wisely,” Byers said. Byers retired in 1963.


Marjorie Phillips (1894-1985), a painter who studied at the Art Students League in New York, was integral to the formation of The Phillips Collection. She became the co-founder of the museum following her marriage to Duncan Phillips in 1921. Phillips relied upon his wife’s artistic insight in making acquisition decisions. Marjorie gradually took on more responsibility for exhibitions in the 1960s as Duncan Phillips’s health declined. Despite her many obligations as director after Phillips’s death in 1966, Marjorie stated, “I was happy as long as I had some time to paint every day.”

Karen Schneider, Head Librarian, Phillips Collection

Do It Yourself: Participatory Art in the 1960s and 1970s

The Philadelphia Museum of Art Library and Archives has an exciting new installation, “Do It Yourself: Participatory Art in the 1960s and 1970s,” that showcases artist books, exhibition catalogues, mail art, and photographs that document the active role of artists and viewers during the Pop art movement.

Do It Yourself: Participatory Art in the 1960s and 1970sIn conjunction with the Museum’s International Pop exhibit, this installation offers a unique behind-the-scenes glimpse of exhibitions during this time and exceptional pieces that held great importance for the international Fluxus community and others. Visit the Perelman Building’s Library Reading Room after your time at the International Pop exhibit to explore the publications of Something Else Press and Gemini G.E.L., and enjoy works from artists like Richard Hamilton, Jasper Johns, Christo, Yoko Ono, and more.

For more info on the installation visit the Library and Archives page:

Alyssa Dannaker

Philadelphia Museum of Art
PO Box 7646, Philadelphia, PA 19101-7646

Curator’s Panel at the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts

« Older posts