Sunday, May 14, 2017

On This Day in Government Documents: May 14th: America Explores! Lewis and Clark and Skylab

May 14th, 1804: Lewis and Clark set out on their Corps of Discovery 


The first federally funded scientific expedition set out to fulfill President Thomas Jefferson's instructions "to explore the Missouri [R]iver, & such principal stream of it as by it's course and communication with the waters of the Pacific ocean whether the Columbia, Oregon, Colorado or any other river may offer the most direct & practicable water communication across this continent for the purposes of commerce."



Lewis and Clark crossed into the western portion of the United States for the first time by Americans, exploring the recently acquired Louisiana land, mapping a path all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Their mission was not solely for science and research but also to establish an American presence before other European countries and to gather information on the native peoples of the western land with regard to culture and population size.

Explore their journey through Worcester Public Library's pamphlets, brochures, and other documents.

May 14th, 1973: Skylab launched into orbit


On this same date in 1973, another federally funded mission set out to explore. With the end of the Apollo missions, NASA set its sights on more long-term missions to research how humans and other organisms would fare in space.
   


Skylab was launched as an unmanned orbital workshop by the re-purposed Saturn V rocket from the Apollo missions in an effort to save money due to a dwindling budget. However, the vibrations from the launch resulted in several malfunctions including a torn off micrometeroid shield and damaged solar panels used to generate electricity. This left Skylab with only half of its power-generating capability and caused the lab to overheat.



Between 1973 and 1974, three manned missions traveled to Skylab to conduct scientific experiments, Skylab 1, Skylab 2, and Skylab 3. The first mission was able to repair the damage done to Skylab during the launch making the orbiting lab habitable for humans. Experiments conducted by the Skylab missions ranged from sleep monitoring to nuclear emulsion. One study from Biomedical Results from Skylab observed the zero-gravity effects on living human cells during Skylab 3. 





Interested in learning more about how important it is to fund science? Check out our reading list on the Skylab missions.


























Thursday, May 11, 2017

Treasures From the Worcester Room: A Historic Cartoon

As the library looks ahead to its 2017-2022 strategic plan, it is interesting and important to look back to the library's past.  While many of the glimpses to the library's past housed in the library's Worcester Room Collection include such items as historic board minutes, circulation records and photographs, we do have many less traditional items as well.  One such example is a cartoon depicting a day in the life of the Worcester Public Library from noted award-winning illustrator and Worcester resident Vitty Mattus.

According to articles in the Worcester Telegram, Mattus had a long and distinguished career as an illustrator, becoming well known for Hawaiian landscapes painted during the Second World War.  He also assisted Leon Kroll in creating the war memorial paintings in the Worcester Memorial Auditorium.  Not to mention, he had a decades long career as an illustrator for the Worcester Telegram, which led to the creation of this particular cartoon.  While undated, this particular cartoon likely appeared in the Worcester Sunday Telegram's Feature Parade Magazine during the 1940s or 50s.  The item in question appears to be Mattus's original drawing, and contains notations telling newspaper staff how much to reduce the image for inclusion into the paper.

Many things have definitely changed in the years since Mattus's cartoon was first published.  For example, the library no longer lends out record albums, and cataloging staff no longer must hand-write out cards for a card catalog.  However, as Mattus charmingly illustrates, the library then as now serves as a place for young and old alike to check out items, converse socially and learn more about the world.  It just goes to show, the more things change, the more they remain the same.  This historic cartoon is just another example of the unique and fascinating items that you can find in the library's Worcester Room Collection.

More about Mattus and his work: http://www.telegram.com/article/20140626/NEWS/306269949