Science - November 19, 2010

Spotlight on books about trees

The Forum library is putting some of its most exceptional books on trees from the Special Collection on display. This exhibition is a precursor to the UN Year of Forests in 2011.

One of the oldest books on trees in the Forum library illustrates tree care. P. de Crescentius: Von dem nutz der ding die in aeckeren gebuwt warden (on the use of things grown in fields)
One of the glass cases contains three tiny boxes in the shape of a book, about the size of a pocket bible. Each box contains a hundred sheets, each of which is a wafer-thin, oval cross-section of a particular kind of wood. In other words, slices of wood 50 to 100 micrometres (one thousandth of a millimetre!) thick. This is a masterpiece by the nineteenth century German forestry professor Hermann Nördlinger. Curator Liesbeth Missel says he created eleven such bundles, of which the library has three.
The bundles will be on view over the next few weeks in The Wood through the Trees, an exhibition in the Forum library. Dozens of books about trees and forests from the period 1500 to 1950 will be on display - fortunate books rescued from obscurity for a few months. In putting on this exhibition, the library is capitalizing on the centenary festivities of the Royal Dutch Forestry Association as well as providing a taster for the UN Year of Forests next year. On show until 31 March 2011.
November 2010 - 31 March 2011, Monday to Friday, 9 am - 5 pm
Venue: Special Collections Reading Room, Forum.