Nature Photography Day

June 12, 2019

Do you need some inspiration for your Instagram account? You’re in luck. June 15 is designated Nature Photography Day. According to the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA), the day is meant to promote the enjoyment of nature photography, and to explain how images are used to advance the cause of conservation and protect plants, wildlife, and landscapes.

If you’re not sure what to take a picture of, flip through A Photographer’s Path from the Department of the Interior and National Park Service to get started. The book includes a collection of images from photographer Thomas Paradis that highlight nature and history in the Greater Washington, D.C. area, with photos from parks in Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia. Photographs of streamside ferns and queen snakes at Catoctin Mountain Park, dew drops on Magnolias at National Capital Parks – East, white trout lilies at George Washington Memorial Parkway, and a lone butterfly flying over a crowd of bur-marigolds, will leave you in awe of the elegant beauty of nature – and get you thinking about what you might want to capture. Is it the squirrel that scurries around your backyard, that waterfall you’ve been wanting to hike, or millions of stars twinkling on a clear night? This publication, in particular, takes you through trails, aquatic gardens, grasslands, tunnels, forts, streams, and forests, and would make the perfect coffee table book. The photos are part of the National Park Service’s Inventory and Monitoring program, which aims to communicate the significance of park natural resources. Check out the book for a full list of the 15 parks featured, then choose one to visit yourself!

Swallowtail perched on branch Manassas National Park, from A Photographer’s Path.

So you got a stunning nature shot that you’re really feeling good about? Post it to your favorite social media! You can also frame it and give it as an inexpensive gift to friends or family. Or, if you’re feeling extra creative, make a nature box. In it, keep your best photos, along with collected items like leaves, dandelions, twigs, seashells, or unique rocks you find as you go. If you have kids in your life, they will love helping out with a project like this.

The best part about Nature Photography Day is that you get to be in nature! Whether it be with kids, a grandparent, a friend, a significant other, a pet, or just yourself, make a day of exploring and studying flora and fauna. We want to hear from you! Where will you be heading this Nature Photography Day to capture the perfect shot? We hope to see you on June 15 in the great outdoors.

The GPO Online Bookstore – Easy Access to Federal Publications

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS RESOURCE?

Sign up to receive promotional bulletin emails from the US Government Online Bookstore.

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy a vast majority of eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at https://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Visit our Retail Store: To buy or order a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up(s).

Order by Phone or Email: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.  Email orders to ContactCenter@gpo.gov

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

Find more than a million official Federal Government publications from all three branches at www.govinfo.gov.

About the author: Blogger contributor Cat Goergen is the PR Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations office.


Discover U.S. National Park Service Posters

March 8, 2019

In the 1990s, National Park Service (NPS) commissioned Charley Harper, an American Modernist artist, to design 10 posters of wildlife. They wanted the art to capture the diversity of public lands in America; “from the lava flows of Hawaiian Volcanoes . . . to the icebergs of Glacier Bay, Alaska, . . . from the heights of the Rocky Mountains . . . to the depths of the Coral Reef.” Harper, an experienced traveler, drew inspiration from nature and used his unique style of minimal realism.

The poster with Hawaii’s volcanoes shows a typical volcanic eruption that destroys everything in its path but Harper also gives the audience multiple perspectives. Upon closer inspection, the art illustrates how life is created through a destructive force. The archipelago of Hawaii was formed by volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. The image of Hawaii that we know of today is a lush, tropical island with volcanoes. The greenery is direct result of volcanic soil which is rich in nutrients. “[The soil] are light and fluffy, low density and have remarkable water-holding capacity.” Another view is that lava is flowing into the ocean thus creating more land. The island of Hawaii, also known as Big Island, is continually growing and providing more habitats for life. Harper’s artistic style maybe minimalistic but is by no means simple.

Can you find multiple perspectives in the Rocky Mountains poster?

Several of the commissioned posters are available for purchase at the GPO Bookstore. The Catalog of Government Publications (CGP) is another GPO resource that can be used to discover Government posters. For example, the University of Iowa digitized Harper’s Glacier Bay poster, and it’s available through the CGP. The CGP can also be used to learn more about the extensive research Federal agencies have conducted about natural wonders in the U.S.

The GPO Online Bookstore – Easy Access to Federal Publications

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

Sign up to receive promotional bulletin emails from the US Government Online Bookstore.

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy a vast majority of eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at https://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Visit our Retail Store: To buy or order a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up(s).

Order by Phone or Email: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.  Email orders to ContactCenter@gpo.gov

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

Find more than a million official Federal Government publications from all three branches at www.govinfo.gov.

About the author: Blogger contributor Vanathy Senthilkumar is a Systems Librarian at GPO.


Be Enriched with Humanities Magazine

July 12, 2016

For over 50 years, the National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) has been a prolific funder of humanities programming in the United States. It all started with one piece of legislation that moved the public arts and humanities needle in the United States. In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act into law. The act created the NEH and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) as separate, independent agencies. Upon adding his signature, Johnson remarked, “The arts and the humanities belong to the people, for it is, after all, the people who create them.”

sepialbj1965signing

President Lyndon Johnson signs the legislation creating NEH. Credit: NEH

In addition to printing the original act and making the digital version available on govinfo, GPO offers single copies for purchase and annual subscriptions to NEH’s HUMANITIES magazine. Visit the U.S. Government Bookstore’s HUMANITIES page to subscribe. Simply add a one-year subscription to your cart. Subscriptions begin with the first issue released after the order is processed.

HUMANITIES

Arts and the humanities are an asset—a public service to be strengthened. One way the NEH does that is with its HUMANITIES magazine. The quarterly periodical features stories about artistic excellence and thought in America. Its issues are filled with stories of literature, history, archaeology, comparative religion, philosophy, and language. The magazine also provides information about recent NEH grants, a calendar of endowment-supported events, and deadlines for applicants seeking funds.

736-002-00187-2HUMANITIES aims to advance a broader understanding and appreciation of humanities in the public space. It contains visionary works and thoughtful scholarship and history lessons and deep questions and real conversations—all things that support the NEH’s essential humanities mission. The bimonthly review is a fascinating preservation of America’s diverse heritage and cultural infrastructure.

The NEH is a public body that connects expression with learning. It makes sense that it produces a publication just as valuable. HUMANITIES magazine is an art form unto itself. It’s this distinctiveness that, in the words of President Johnson, “make[s] fresher the winds of art in this great land of ours.”

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS PUBLICATION?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


Art and the Air Force: Top Guns Above the Clouds

March 23, 2016

Air Force art is a particular species of art. Limitless blue-skies yonder. Wispy white contrails. Gunners encased in gunmetal. Strategic bombing campaigns. Official portraits of commanders. And so much more.

9780160926617008And that so much more is honorably captured in ‘A Magnificent Showcase: History, Heritage, and Art: The United States Air Force and the Air Force Art Program.’ Authors Timothy R. Keck and designer Lori Ann Dawson show how the Air Force Art Program illuminates and preserves the heritage of the aerial warfare service of the U.S. Armed Forces. Part art piece, part historical compendium, the book’s watercolors and oil paintings showcase both machine and man of the “Aim High … Fly-Fight-Win” branch.

Each artist’s portrayal of Air Force servicemen and servicewomen show an enthusiastic championing of aircraft meets artful craft. The hefty tome features full-page scenes of battle-ready bombers rocketing over bucolic fields, fly boys on reconnaissance missions, and the fiery hazards of war. The wide, stratospheric pages are inset with vignettes of historical milestones such as the Tuskegee Airmen, Berlin Airlift, Pacific island raids, and Desert Storm.

Ah oh the pop-out spread of colors!  The apricot-colored sundown of William Phillips’ ‘Fifty Miles Out’, the algae-green fields of Randy Green’s ‘The Bridge Busters—397th Bomb Group,’ and the alpenglow-purple of Michael Machat’s ‘Habu’s Last Hurrah’ are all standout.

The introduction to ‘A Magnificent Showcase’ includes a circa-1960s quote from former Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, General Curtis LeMay, who wrote: “To posterity, these paintings will furnish a priceless pictorial history of our Air Force in a brilliant era.” The general phrased it perfectly. There’s really nothing more to add then to say it’s simply a magnificent book.

9780160925634P.S. You can continue your exploration of U.S. military art with this beauty: In the Line of Duty: Army Art, 1965-2014. It’s rich with soldier-artist pieces depicting the warfare operations of Vietnam through twenty-first century Iraq and Afghanistan. Raw grit and real courage.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE PUBLICATIONS?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


The Capitol Building and Dome

August 26, 2014

From 1793 until today, the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. has been a topic of interest—and has been the subject of several Government publications! The Capitol dome is soon to be covered with scaffolding for two years for a restoration project, so let’s try to uncover some Capitol treasures before that happens.

Proposed scaffolding for Capitol dome restoration Architect of the Capitol

Proposed scaffolding for Capitol dome restoration
Architect of the Capitol

History of the Capitol

Representative Rufus Choate in 1833 came up with this idea: “We have built no national temples but the Capitol; we consult no common oracle but the Constitution.” Do you agree? You’ll find that quote as well as plenty more information about the building in the book History of the United States Capitol: A Chronicle of Design, Construction, and Politics, also known as S. Doc. 106-29 and part of the Congressional Committee Materials collection on GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys). If you’re a more down to earth person and want details on the cost of building the Capitol, check out Chapter 10 of H. Doc. 108-240, Glenn Brown’s History of the United States Capitol , also available on FDsys.

Capitol dome/Dome restoration

The Capitol dome is part of what makes it one of the most recognizable buildings in the country—but did you know it is not the first dome that was on the building? The current dome was designed by Thomas U. Walter and built over 150 years ago, from 1855-1866. The first dome was designed by Charles Bulfinch and finished in 1824. The last time the dome was restored was 1959-1960, and the cast iron now has more than 1,000 cracks, so it’s about to get restored in a two-year project.

Capitol in 1834 with Bulfinch dome Library of Congress (http://www.loc.gov/pictures)/item/2002711965/>

Capitol in 1834 with Bulfinch dome
Library of Congress

Capitol artwork

What about inside the building? The National Statuary Hall Collection has two statues from every U.S. state, and H.R. 5711 was introduced in the 111th Congress (2010) to allow U.S. territories to furnish statues for the hall too. Illinois was the first state to send a statue of a woman —educator and reformer Frances E. Willard’s statue was installed in 1905.

Restoring the Dome Architect of the Capitol

Restoring the Dome
Architect of the Capitol

To Make Beautiful the Capitol: Rediscovering the Art of Constantino Brumidi

brumidi-to-make-beautiful-the-capitolThe Capitol also contains striking artwork by Constantino Brumidi. This Italian artist came to the United States when he was almost fifty years old. Brumidi embraced American history and the United States, signing himself “C. Brumidi Artist Citizen of the U.S.” on one of his Capitol frescoes. Read more about Brumidi and his work in To Make Beautiful the Capitol: Rediscovering the Art of Constantino Brumidi, Constantino Brumidi: Artist of the Capitol, or at the Architect of the Capitol’s Web site.

North Brumidi Corridor Architect of the Capitol

North Brumidi Corridor
Architect of the Capitol

Fun facts and more

S.R. 7, 40th Congress, 1867 Library of Congress

S.R. 7, 40th Congress, 1867
Library of Congress

For those who like historical tidbits (and cider), check out joint resolution S.R. 7 from 1867 prohibiting alcoholic beverages in the Capitol . . . or the 2011 hearing on “Nuclear Energy Risk Management” before a House committee which says the granite of the Capitol building means it has “some of the highest radiation levels in all of the United States, about 85 millirem per year.” (But don’t worry, cross-examination reveals that that level is just “normal radiation exposures from natural background.”) And finally, for even more detail, historical facts, and great images, don’t forget to check out the fabulous Web site of the Architect of the Capitol – they are experts on this fascinating building!

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE PUBLICATIONS?

In addition to clicking on the links in the article above to find the publications, you may find these publications from the following:

Visit a Federal Depository Library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP)

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy these print publications (with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide) from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore website at http://bookstore.gpo.gov:

Order by Phone: You may also order print editions by calling GPO’s  Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

About the author: Lara Otis is an Outreach Librarian for the U.S. Government Printing Office’s Library Services & Content Management (LSCM) Division.


Designing a Nation: Civic Art in the Nation’s Capital

April 17, 2014

The U.S. Capitol and National Mall are a beautiful representation of the dignity and public spirit of the United States of America. This area is steeped in history, and you can learn more about the past and continued efforts to design, build, and preserve the U.S. Capitol and National Mall through many government publications.

Brumidi-To-Make-Beautiful-the-CapitolWith its famous dome celebrating its 150th anniversary in December 2013, the United States Capitol is a treasure-trove of civic art. Just released, To Make Beautiful the Capitol: Rediscovering the Art of Constantino Brumidi gives a detailed history of renowned Italian-born artist Constantino Brumidi’s masterful work in “making beautiful” the walls and ceilings of the United States Capitol in a span of 25 years starting in 1854. Every page delights with gorgeous, full-color photographs and images of Brumidi’s art, from photographs of the frescoes and decoration, to sketches, paintings and images of the artist, particularly the Brumidi Corridors and his “monumental fresco” in the Capitol Rotunda, called The Apotheosis of Washington. Fascinating anecdotes are included throughout of the artist and the inspirations he received for various elements, his relationship with engineer Montgomery C. Meigs, and the conservation efforts to preserve his work accurately for posterity. Read more about this publication and others about art in the Capitol in our prior blog post, National Treasure: The art and architecture of the US Capitol.

The primary oversight board for projects in the National Mall area is the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, which was established by an act of Congress on May 17, 1910 in Public Law 61-181. This commission was created as an independent review agency for the work of designing the national capitol and to guide the architectural development of Washington. The commission’s role was expanded with later passage of the Shipstead-Luce Act of 1930 (Public Law 71-231 and Public Law 76-248), and the Old Georgetown Act of 1950 (Public Law 81-808). The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts has a long history of guiding the development of the nation’s capital. Several resources are available in print and online to learn more about the commission’s history.

The National Park Service maintains a detailed guide linking to documents and reports that detail the area history. The Mall Cultural Landscape Inventory, part 2 contains several pages describing the history of the Senate Park Commission and its formation into the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts.

Designing-the-nations-capitalThe U.S. Commission of Fine Arts published a monograph in 2006; Designing the nation’s capital: the 1901 plan for Washington D.C. This 359 page monograph contains illustrations in color and black and white, as well as maps. The National Park Service provides full text access to this title online.

In addition to this title, several editions of this history of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts from 1910 to date were published in 1964, 1977, 1981, 1985, 1991, and 1996.

Civic Art : a centennial history of the U.S. Commission of Fine ArtsThe most recent addition to the volumes available about the history of the commission is celebrates 100 years of the work of the commission. Civic Art : a centennial history of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts is a beautiful, 626 page monograph with illustrations, maps and plans. It is a comprehensive history of the agency and includes original essays by prominent architects and landscape architects including Arleyn Levee, Carroll William Westfall, and Richard Guy Wilson.

A Botanic Garden for the Nation: The United States Botanic GardenAnother beautiful book that features some of the history of the national mall area is A Botanic Garden for the Nation: The United States Botanic Garden. You can read more about this publication in a previous post on Government Book Talk.

For more information about the U.S. Capital building, you can also check out the publications highlighted in the previous Government Book Talk post on the 150th anniversary of the completion of the Capital Dome.

America’s Castle: the evolution of the Smithsonian Building and its institution, 1840-1878To read more about the history of the Smithsonian, you could visit a depository library and check out the publication, America’s Castle: the evolution of the Smithsonian Building and its institution, 1840-1878.

If you are interested in the official records of the commission, you can locate them at the National Archives. The record collection includes administrative history, annual reports, and a selection of still photographs. The records are divided between College Park, MD and Washington DC. Many of the records pertaining to the building and continued development of the National Mall are available at the National Archives, such as the National Park Service Records for the National Capital Region, and the Records of the Office of Public Buildings and Public Parks of the National Capital.

How Can I get this book and other publications about history of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts?

About the author: Our guest blogger is Cathy Wagner, a GPO Outreach Librarian for the U.S. Government Printing Office’s Library Services & Content Management (LSCM) Division. Additional content, images and editing provided by Trudy Hawkins, a writer and marketing specialist in GPO’s Publication & Information Sales Division supporting the U.S. Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov).


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