I was in pop-up heaven last night at the opening of the Smithsonian Institution’s new exhibit “Paper Engineering: Fold, Pull, Pop & Turn.” The show is a little gem, tracing the history of the paper-engineered book from its origins in scientific astronomy texts through current pop-up volumes of fantastic complexity. Curated by Stephen Van Dyk of New York’s Cooper Hewitt Design Museum Library, the exhibition is beautifully installed and emphasizes the mechanical aspects of the pop-ups on display. It will be up until October, 2011, in the National Museum of American History.
Of course, the fun of being at the opening was to see many friends and colleagues gathered to celebrate this special pop-up occasion. Illustrator Chuck Fischer was there (in person), and will continue to be a virtual presence in the exhibit through a video installation showing him and paper engineer Bruce Foster at work. Pop-up lady Ellen Rubin traveled from New York to attend. (Both she and Ann Montanaro of the Movable Book Society assisted in formulating the show.) And I was able to catch up with all my librarian friends Nancy Gwinn, Susan Frampton, Jackie Colburn, and Diane Shaw.