Secret Treasures in the Biomedical Research Library

I rarely go to the Biomedical Research Library, but when I do, I go see what is new and popping Special Collections. Actually, this quarter was the first time I explored the Special Collections in this library, of which I previously had not known its existence. It looked like a normal part of the library, with book stacks. However, there were special encased displays, which presented some interesting artwork. The theme of some of the displays in the special collections seemed to revolve around birds, specifically parrots. Upon looking at the drawings and thinking about bioart, I was immediately reminded of Darwin’s finches. The drawings had a classic look, like something out of a sketchbook much like what I would imagine Charles Darwin drew as he tried to learn about the birds and explored the Galapagos Islands. The exhibit was related to the book Parrots of the Cannibal Islands. The book had ten copies numbered I-X as an author’s edition. Charles van Sandwyk is the artist and author of the displays’ focus. According to the exhibit’s brief, the images were purposefully reminiscent of explorers’ and their sketches of animals and plants on their travels. This is part of the reason why I think these pictures are very beautiful and artistic.


Photo credit: Me (I am not very good at taking selfies)

My favorite picture is of the Blue-Crowned Lory. It looks very cute in the picture but also very elegant and regal. The crown definitely creates a distinguished look. There was also a picture of a parrot’s head and its talons gripping a key. This looked very intriguing, because it looks like it came from a cartoon or could be a still from an animated movie. Below it is the phrase, “The beak, the claw,” which I could just imagine being read from a dramatic story. Many of the birds that were depicted in the collections looked very similar to each other. The theme colors among the parrots are either mainly green or red, but mostly green. I would imagine it as an aesthetically pleasing but also biologically accurate choice. However, it may also be possible that the colors of these specific parrots are truly mainly green so as to perhaps protect themselves from harm through camouflage.


Photo credits: Me

The Special Collections room also has a section called the “Rare Book Room.” Of course, it reminded be of the “Restricted” area in the library of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films. Intrigued, I tried opening it and hoping to go in but was out of luck. I was not sure if it was the time of day, or if it is truly restricted for student access. Nonetheless, I did manage to get a picture of the inside, though dark, and it looked very fascinating. Maybe one day I can actually go inside and explore.


  1. "Blue-crowned Lories." Beauty Of Birds. <>.
  2. "The Blue-crowned Lorikeet." The Blue-crowned Lorikeet. <>.
  3. "Blue-crowned Lory." Blue-crowned Lory (Vini Australis). <>.
  4. "Cannibal Island." National Geographic Channel. <>.
  5. "The Original Art of Charles Van Sandwyk." The Original Art of Charles Van Sandwyk. <>.