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It's Time to Create a Herbarium!

It's Time to Create a Herbarium!
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We invite you to an interesting creative activity. There is only one month of summer left, and there are many different plants around us. We offer to collect flowers and herbs, create your own herbarium and compare with the images on old prints. Did plants look like this 500 years ago? Place modern flowers next to an engraving from the past and compare!

"Herbarium" (from Latin - "herb") means dried plants. There are many collections of such specially collected exhibits designed for scientific research in the world.

The herbarium is also called a book describing plants and their images. Herbariums, which are more than 500 years old, are kept in the collection of the National Library of Belarus.

The book "Herbarium", published by Peter Schaefer in Mainz in 1484, belongs to the collection of incunabula, published in the second half of the 15th century. Initially, Schaefer worked as a copyist of manuscripts, and he began working in the printing houses of Johannes Gutenberg and Johannes Fust in 1452. Then Schaefer, together with the publisher Fust, opened his own printing house in 1457. "Herbarium" is one of the most famous books of this printing house. The author of the text is not mentioned in the book, but it is believed to be Frankfurt doctor Johann Foneken von Kube. The book describes and illustrates 150 plants. There are woodcuts hand-painted green, yellow, red and blue in the collections of the National Library of Belarus.


It is interesting that the copy was taken from the famous book collection of the Radziwill family in Nesvizh. The ex-libris and the red stamp are the evidence. The copy contains numerous manuscripts in Latin and Polish.


Another interesting copy from the collections of the National Library of Belarus is the book "Herbarium", published in Venice in 1509. The book contains 150 woodcuts depicting medicinal plants. The pictures show strawberries, garlic, onions and other plants.


The presented books can be used to search and compare with modern plants that grow nearby: in the garden, in the meadow, in the field or in the forest. Following the example of old books, you can make a modern book with sketches and descriptions of plants.

The Museum Plantin-Moretus in Antwerp has developed a booklet that you can use to create your own herbarium. It contains images from books by the printer Christophe Plantin. The pictures show famous plants: chamomile, maple, oats, poppy, clover, creeping buttercup, nettle, dandelion and others. You can download and print the booklet with an album where are names of the plants, place and date of collection signed on the sheets.

We suggest sending photos of the created herbariums to till September 1, 2020. The best creative works will be posted on the library portal.

The material was prepared as a part of the “On a Visit to Books” and “Create Culture: Library Innovative Services” projects. 

Bibliology Research Department


Let's Create a Project Together

21 Sep 2020

A virtual project "On the Wave of Time, Throughout the Life", timed to the 100th anniversary of the literary association "Maladnyak" (1923-1928), includes a lot of interesting and informative things. These are photographs of the writers, their family and friends, manuscripts and letters, photos of personal belongings of the members of "Maladnyak", full texts of their pieces. Important material that makes the project "alive" and relevant are the articles of modern researchers. With the permission of the authors, we place digitized copies of publications that are available to readers in full.

To the 100th Anniversary of “Maladnyak