Secretary Lonnie Bunch on the Invisible Work of the Smithsonian’s Conservators | At the Smithsonian

After the Smithsonian collects an object, what happens to it? Some objects go on display, some become vital resources for researchers and scientists, some are loaned to peer institutions or federal agencies.

But none of this would be possible without conservation: the complex technical work to preserve, restore and research the 155 million objects in the Smithsonian collections. From pigment to porcelain, silk to stone, our conservators support the material needs of every Smithsonian museum. Whether protecting revered artifacts from rare bacteria or pioneering new methods in spectroscopy, Smithsonian staff combine object expertise and state-of-the-art technology to better understand the natural world, history, aerospace, archaeology and art.

I am awed by this work. It requires great technical acumen, ingenuity and meticulous attention to detail. Many of the objects we collect need serious TLC: intensive cleaning, painstaking repair, storage in a controlled and safe environment. And at the Smithsonian, we specialize

Read More

Watch Volvo Drop a Bunch of Cars From the Sky for Science

Photo credit: Volvo
Photo credit: Volvo

From Road & Track

Volvo has always been at the forefront of safety. So it’s no surprise to see it go to extreme lengths to help the effectiveness of emergency services workers. For its latest science-backed stunt, the company dropped a handful of new cars suspended nearly 100 feet from the ground by a crane. While cool to watch, it also serves as a valuable method for simulating high-speed crashes.

Obviously, the real goal with this exercise wasn’t to create cool crash footage. Volvo wanted to provide Swedish rescue workers with new cars to test out new metals and devices for cutting out trapped occupants. Usually, these workers have to make do with decades-old cars found in scrapyards. Using these new cars provided them insights into how newer cars differ in metal type and construction, giving them an idea of how their tools can be improved to

Read More