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Collection tour of the National Museum of American History’s Graphic Arts collection

October 16, 2019 @ 11:00 am - 1:30 pm


invites you to join us for a

Collection tour of the National Museum of American History’s
Graphic Arts collection

Hosted by curators Helena Wright and Joan Boudreau

October 16, 2019, 11 AM

Members must RSVP below by October 8th because space is limited to 20. 


The Washington Rare Book Group is invited behind the scenes to view the Graphic Arts Collection at the National Museum of American History. With a focus on the international history and technology of printmaking and printing, the collection includes blocks, plates, and stones, as well as presses, type, tools, and other equipment of the trades. Highlights of the tour will include examples of printed books and illustrated works such as The Kelmscott Chaucer and other William Morris imprints; paper molds, paper samples, type, and imprints from Dard Hunter; original copper plates from Audubon’s Birds of America, and several generations of prints after his original works.


Joan Boudreau had an early exposure to works of art in Italy. Since joining the Graphic Arts unit in 1983 she has worked to document the collection of approximately 70,000 artifacts in both the printing and printmaking sections. Joan’s virtual research products include exhibitions such as The Feather Trade and the American Conservation Movement; Keeping History: American Plains Ledger Drawings; Civil War Field Printing and object groups such as Printing Matrices for “Narrative of the U.S. Exploring Expedition;” Patent Models: Graphic Arts; Graphic Arts: Bureau of American Ethnology; Comic Art; California Mission Postcards; and Nineteen Century Survey Prints viewable on the American History Museum website at https://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/object-groups.


Helena Wright has worked with visual collections for her entire career, now more than fifty years enthralled by works on paper. Since arriving at NMAH in 1983 her publications and exhibitions have focused on topics such as American papermaking, collotype printing, 19th-century lithography, and women graphic artists. She collaborated on exhibitions for Smithsonian Libraries on Audubon prints (1998) and book illustration (2008). https://www.sil.si.edu/exhibitions/picturingwords/ She spoke to the WRBG about the Smithsonian’s Marsh Collection of engravings in 2016. http://marshcollection.si.edu

The event will begin at 11:00 a.m. and be followed by a “Dutch-treat” lunch in the NMAH Cafeteria afterwards where we can continue the conversation and otherwise enjoy the company.

Even though there is no cost for this event, members must RSVP by October 8th because space is limited to 20.  We will gather in the Constitution Avenue Lobby of the National Museum of American History near the “Bat-Mobile.”


Directions to the American History Museum:

Note: taxi and metro are recommended, parking is difficult to locate

The closest metro on the Orange/Blue/Silver lines is at Federal Triangle. Walk south along 12th street to Constitution Ave. Enter the Museum through the Constitution Ave. entrance, where members will be greeted and led to the Dibner Library. Since there is security to pass through at the Museum entrance, please plan extra time.


It is time to renew your membership dues for 2020!


Amanda Zimmerman,

WRBG President


October 16, 2019
11:00 am - 1:30 pm


Tickets are not available as this event has passed.