Explore Book Collecting With the Curators of ‘Magnificent Obsessions: Why We Collect’

Join the curators of our exhibition “Magnificent Obsessions: Why We Collect” for a discussion of the fascinating book collectors that helped build our library collections.

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Exhibition graphic for Magnificent Obsessions: Why We Collect, now on view in the National Museum of American History.  Smithsonian Libraries and Archives

Smithsonian Libraries and Archives invites you to join our next free, online webinar: “At Home with Smithsonian Libraries and Archives: Magnificent Obsessions” on Tuesday, October 5th at 5 pm ET.

Without obsessed collectors gathering their favorites over the years, much of our cultural heritage would be lost. Often it’s the small details of a child’s worn book, a treasured cookbook, or a guide to the World’s Fair that contemporary scholars use to understand the full picture of history.

Magnificent Obsessions: Why We Collectcurrently on view in the National Museum of American History, tells the captivating stories of the book collectors whose diverse interests and passions helped shape—and continue to contribute to—the libraries of the Smithsonian. Through rare books, manuscripts, and other intriguing items from across the varied libraries, the exhibition highlights the personal motivations and enduring impact of book collectors who were compelled to share their “magnificent obsessions” with the nation.

Join curators Mary Augusta Thomas and Stephen Van Dyk as they share the stories of some of these fascinating collectors and incredible objects, as well as behind-the-scenes insights into the process of developing Magnificent Obsessions.

Please join us on Tuesday, October 5 at 5 PM ETAfter registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the program.

Optional auto-generated captions will be available during the program. We will be recording the program and will also be live streaming on Facebook for a broader audience.

Register here.


In Memory of Anthony John Mourek, a Magnificent Collector

Library and archive collections have been a part of the Smithsonian since its beginnings. This program, which will highlight the history of several important collections, is part of the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives’ commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Institution’s founding.