Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History

About the Collection

The Cullman Library, along with the Dibner, serves as the Smithsonian’s special collections library. The Cullman focuses on natural sciences, with strengths in anthropology, botany, expeditions, and the history of museums. The library has an extensive collection of rare and historical books with spectacular illustrations. The artists’ book collection is very small – currently, just one book. However, researchers with an interest in book art and book history will find many exciting works at the Cullman. If you visit, be sure to take a look at Botanica Magnifica, a giant, five-volume double elephant folio with beautiful botanical photographs and intricate cover designs from 2008.

Finding Artists’ Books

To find artists’ books at the Cullman Library use SIRIS, the Smithsonian’s online public access catalog. Under the Search tab at the top, click “Combined.” When the “Search by” page comes up, enter “artists’ books” under “Subject Keyword.” Also, under “Limits” select “Special Collections Cullman Library” in the right-side menu. Click the arrow to perform the search. This will bring you to the artists’ book at the Cullman.

How to Get There

1000 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004

The Cullman Library is located in the National Museum of Natural History, on the National Mall. To get there by Metro, take the Orange or Blue line to Federal Triangle. Walk south on 12th Street NW toward the National Mall. The National Museum of American History is across Constitution Avenue to the left.

What to Expect

Make an appointment to use the Cullman collections before you arrive by emailing or calling 202-633-1184. When you get to the Cullman Library, fill out a reader registration form, present your ID, and sign the log. Leave your bags, coats, and pens in the lockers. Complete a request form for each book you’d like to see. You will be able to view up to three books at a time. The Special Collections Department Access Policies page has more information about expectations and access.

Other Resources

Cullman Library

Cullman Collections

Smithsonian Special Collections Department Access Policies

Smithsonian Special Collections

Here and There: Tour of the Cullman Library