Posts tagged ‘October’

October is National Rhubarb Month

I bet  you are asking, ‘why October?’ I am not quite sure.  This doesn’t quite make sense because rhubarb is very strongly associated with spring in the northern United States. In October it is just starting to go dormant with the first few frosts.  If we were in the Southern hemisphere, however, we would just be starting to harvest the stalks this month. Maybe we celebrate rhubarb in October just so we have it in our thoughts year-round and can be jealous of those on the other side of the world enjoying its delicious sweet-tart taste now when we have to wait another six months for it.

Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum, Rheum x hybridum)

Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum, Rheum x hybridum) is a cool season, perennial vegetable with long leaf stalks, or petioles, that hold large, triangular leaves. We eat the red, fleshy stalks of the plant that are quite tart when not cooked. In the culinary world it is considered a fruit because it is often sweetened and used with other fruit in desserts and baked goods, hence its nickname of  ‘pie plant’. Rhubarb pairs perfectly with strawberries because of the flavor and the shared early growing season.

Keep rhubarb on your mind until next spring when you can plant crowns or divisions to grow your own and use some in your favorite recipe or stick with the traditional favorite and celebrate National Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Day on June 9th. If you are going to try to grow rhubarb yourself make sure you give it a nice spot where it can live for up to twenty years without being disturbed.  To see some plants in person come check out the Victory Garden at the Museum of American History!

October 12, 2012 at 8:30 am Leave a comment

Take Ten Minutes to Tag for the Archives of American Gardens

As part of the American Archives Month celebration, the Archives of American Gardens is encouraging the public to ‘tag’ their online records in the Smithsonian’s Collections Search Center.  A little over a year ago, the Smithsonian’s Collections Search Center quietly turned on the tagging feature for records of participating Smithsonian archives, libraries and museums and now the Archives of American Gardens is hoping to use American Archives Month to promote this feature. The Archives is reaching out to Facebook followers of Smithsonian Gardens, universities with library and information science programs as well as horticulture programs to to contribute descriptive terms, keywords, or short phrases, to an item’s record to enhance searching on its records.  If a user describes an item in the same way that they would search for it, the presumption is that these new terms will help with the retrievability of the records.  For each tag that is added, that item has another access point – another way for other users to discover that item.

Although public tagging is not perfect and many questions remain about how folksonomy might function in the museum, a summary in a 2009 report by the Steve Project finds that, “Tags offer another layer that supplements and complements the documentation provided by professional museum cataloguers.” So while tagging is not meant to be a replacement for established cataloging methods, it may complement the catalog with a helpful element of user engagement and interaction.

Get Tagging! Visit the Archives of American Gardens Virtual Volunteer page to get started on tagging images.

Jessica Short, Intern
Archives of American Gardens
Smithsonian Gardens

Blogs across the Smithsonian will give an inside look at the Institution’s archival collections and practices during a month long blogathon in celebration of October’s American Archives Month. See additional posts from our other participating blogs, as well as related events and resources, on the Smithsonian’s Archives Month website.

October 5, 2012 at 8:00 am 1 comment

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