Smithsonian Collections Blog

Highlighting the hidden treasures from over 2 million collections

Collections Search Center

Friday, October 20, 2017

Flashback Friday: A Scared Trust

Sarah Stauderman, former Collections Care Manager at Smithsonian Institution Archives discussing preservation techniques at the "Lecture" portion of the workshop. ACMA_01-005.20140. Photo courtesy of Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution.
For this Flashback Friday, we highlight A Scared Trust: Religious Archives. This initiative consisted of a series of workshops hosted by the Anacostia Community Museum in September 2004 and 2005. The sessions provided encouragement and hands-on archival training for community members and historians working informally to preserve the records of religious institutions. Smithsonian archivists, historians, librarians, and conservators offered guidance in the techniques and practice of establishing and maintaining archival programs and history projects.

The workshops launched a multi-layered initiative to support archival projects and heritage preservation programs by small institutions and to share museum knowledge and expertise with members of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan community.

Workshop participants on the steps of Asbury United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C., during the "Tour" portion of the workshop. ACMA_01-005.20172. Photo courtesy of Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution. 
Jennifer Morris, Archivist
Anacostia Community Museum

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Throwback Thursday: October 19, 1923

Young Austin H. Clark, 1910. Smithsonian Institution Archives. Image Number SIA2007-0009. 
On October 19th, 1923 local Washington, DC radio station WRC, of the Radio Corporation of America, began broadcasting a series of talks on the Smithsonian. The talks were so successful that a regular series on scientific subjects was initiated on April 9, 1924, with Austin H. Clark who gives a talk on "The Giants of the Animal World."  The series runs for more than four years.

Austin Hobart Clark (1880-1954) came to the Smithsonian in 1908 as a Collaborator in the Division of Marine Invertebrates, United States National Museum, now known as the National Museum of Natural History, and in 1910 he became Assistant Curator of the Division. In 1920, the collection of Echinoderms was removed from Marine Invertebrates to form a new Division of Echinoderms, with Clark as its Curator, a position which he held until his retirement in 1950.

Click here to explore more about Austin H. Clark at the Smithsonian Institution Archives

Pamela Henson, Historian
Smithsonian Institution Archives

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Changing The Narrative of History: The Enduring Value of Community Collaborations

The pursuit of social justice is an important part of NMAI’s mission, and we work towards it in many ways. The most visible means of addressing issues of prejudice, racism, and injustice are public programs such as our symposium on racism and sports mascots or Nation to Nation, our major exhibition about treaties and sovereignty.

But perhaps the most enduring and transformative moments of change at NMAI are quite small and intimate. Native visitors to our collections often share with museum staff memories of their ancestors in photographs or knowledge about how an object in NMAI’s collection was made or used. This information is entered into our collections database and becomes part of the object’s catalog information. This sounds like mundane museum work, but in fact this personal, family, and community knowledge is crucial for transforming how the history of the Native people of the Western Hemisphere is told and studied. And that transformation – from a “museum-voice” narrative about Native Americans to a collaborative narrative by Native Americans – is at the heart of NMAI’s social justice mission.

I was fortunate to have an experience last March that beautifully illustrates how personal knowledge can change the narrative of history. Several visitors representing the Poeh Cultural Center (PCC) at Pojoaque Pueblo were at NMAI’s Cultural Resources Center to participate in a conservation workshop for our Community Loans program. Through this initiative NMAI is working collaboratively with the PCC to loan 100 ceramics representing the pueblos of Pojoaque, San Ildefonso, Santa Clara, Nambe, Tesuque, and Ohkay Owingeh. The PCC representatives were at NMAI’s CRC to discuss and make decisions about the conservation treatments of the ceramics with collections and conservation staff. The workshop demonstrates something fundamental about NMAI’s thinking – while our curators, conservators, archivists, and other staff are extremely knowledgeable, we are not the only experts. The people who make, grow up with, and live within the cultures that create these objects, such as Tewa pottery, have deep expertise. NMAI staff are aware that we have much to learn from the people whose cultural heritage it is our privilege to steward.

Among the community scholars, artists, and museum professionals who came to the CRC for this visit was John Garcia, a citizen of Santa Clara Pueblo and a remarkable individual who already has years of experience working with NMAI. He was a community curator on NMAI’s inaugural exhibition Our Universes. Mr. Garcia has played a major role in reintroducing traditions to Santa Clara Pueblo that had not been practiced in decades. If all of this wasn’t enough, he’s one of the kindest and most friendly people one could ever hope to meet.

As is the case with most Native visitors to the CRC, the staff of NMAI’s archives offered to run database reports of photographs for our guests. I was handing Mr. Garcia a report of the Santa Clara Pueblo photos in our collection when I overheard him discussing Edward S. Curtis with another NMAI staff member. This caught my attention because NMAI has an important collection of unique Curtis photogravure plates and proofs. These plates were used to print the many copies of Curtis’ massive 20 volume Indians of North America. Hopefully without sounding too nosy I asked how Curtis came up in their discussion, and Mr. Garcia said that Curtis has photographed one of his ancestors. The possibility of NMAI having the printing plate and proof of this photo was too exciting to pass up, even if the likelihood was low. Our collection of 184 printing plates is less than 10% of the total number of images in Curtis’ huge publication. But it was worth a look.

I will forever be so glad I stumbled into that conversation because not only does NMAI indeed have the printing plate of Oyi-tsa (or Duck White), Mr. Garcia’s great-great-grandfather, we have the big, folio-sized plate. And we have the accompanying proof – the very first print made from the plate.

Oyi-tsa (Duck White), summer cacique of Santa Clara. Photogravure plate #601; 1905;
Edward S. Curtis photogravure plates and proofs for The North American Indian, Box F42.National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution. Photo by NMAI Photo Services.

Oyi-tsa (Duck White), summer caciqe of Santa Clara. Photogravure proof #601; 1905;
Edward S. Curtis photogravure plates and proofs for The North American Indian, Box F42. National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution. Photo by NMAI Photo Services.

The only thing more exciting than finding these photos was sharing them with Mr. Garcia. He had, of course, seen the photograph before, but did not know about the photogravure process. Seeing the unique printing plate, and the proof print was clearly a very special experience for him.
Left to Right: Lynda Romero (Pueblo of Pojoaque), Poeh Cultural Center Assistant Director of Programs, John Garcia (Pueblo of Santa Clara), and Michael Pahn discussing the proof of Edward Curtis' photograph of Oyi-tsa, March 2017. Photograph by NMAI Photo Services.
What came next, however, is the most exciting and most enduring part of this very special shared moment. Mr. Garcia talked about Oyi-tsa – how his family remembered him, that his baptized name was Jose Maria Naranjo, that he was the cacique, or leader, of the Santa Clara Pueblo’s summer moiety. Even by the time Oyi-tsa was cacique the leadership of the Pueblo had transitioned to a governor-based system. But the cacique was still an important ceremonial position, and one that a person was appointed to for life. Oyi-tsa served for an unusually long time – about thirty-five years – until his death in 1917. Mr. Garcia noted that many of Oyi-tsa’s descendants have honored his legacy by serving in leadership positions in the tribal government to the present day.

Mr. Garcia next flipped through the database report of photos I had given him earlier and told us about how other photos in NMAI’s collection were connected to Curtis’ photo. This is a photo of Oyi-tsa’s house, which is still standing. The two story section is the original building.

National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution. P07082. Photo by Charles Morgan Wood.
This is a photo of Salvador Naranjo, Oyi-tsa’s son. Pictured with him is his first wife, Perfilia Naranjo. Salvador Naranjo’s second wife, Celestina Tafoya, was a noted pottery maker from a family of noted pottery makers. There are many vessels in the collection of the NMAI that were made by members of the Tafoya family.

National Musuem of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution. P26018. Photograph by Ethel S. Tichenor.
And this is Cleto Tafoya, Oyi-tsa’s grandson, Salvador Naranjo’s nephew, and John Garcia’s grandfather. His parents were Juan Pablo and Clara Tafoya. While John Garcia’s father was serving in the South Pacific during WWII and his mother was working to support the family and the Home Front, he was raised by Cleto Tafoya.

National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution. P07747. Unidentified photographer.
I can’t overstate how exciting it was to learn all of this new information. Mr. Garcia’s deep personal connection to the photograph of Oyi-tsa and knowledge of his family’s history revealed relationships between photographs and objects in our collection that NMAI staff could never have made on our own. Now that information will be available to researchers because it will be part of the catalog records for these materials. This is how we are changing the way history will be told in the future. Typical Western scholarship looks to cultural institutions like the Smithsonian to be the authorities on the past. Mr. Garcia, and all of the many other Native experts and scholars who have contributed their knowledge about the collections we steward, are helping to set the historical record straight by putting their Native voices where scholars – non-Native and Native alike – look for authoritative information.

It is impossible to reflect on this moment with Mr. Garcia and the photograph of Oyi-tsa without taking into account the legacy of Edward Curtis. While he did often record the names of the people he photographed, Curtis was not really depicting his subjects as individuals. Through his photos, they became abstractions or archetypes of the “noble savages” that supported the narrative of the dying race that Curtis and much of the field of anthropology was promoting in the early Twentieth Century. This is a topic that NMAI has explored at length in past exhibitions and publications.

Anonymity is powerful tool of racism. Stereotypes work when all members of some group are thought of as being essentially the same and individuals are stripped of their unique identity and character. This abstraction allows prejudices to take root. Consequently, the personal remembrances that NMAI’s visitors share are much more than charming stories. They return individuality to the people documented in our collection. They transform images of archetypes into pictures of human beings. History is ultimately the stories of human experiences, good and bad. By providing the historians of the future with greater context and detail about the Native people – actual people – of the Western hemisphere, the histories they tell will become increasingly just.

Michael Pahn, Head Archivist
National Museum of the American Indian

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Come Join Us at the 2017 Archives Fair!

As an archivist, ethnomusicologist, and musician working at the Smithsonian, I feel inspired when I have opportunities to work with colleagues within and beyond the Institution to provide public-facing platforms for dialogue. I get particularly enthusiastic when these events relate to the power of archival collections to provide context for the customs and traditions that shape the cultures in which we live. On Saturday, October 21, 2017, I will be participating in such an event at the National Museum of American History in the Coulter Performance Plaza and the SC Johnson Conference Center.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the public is invited to celebrate American Archives Month at the 2017 Archives Fair with the theme Performance and Preservation. As described on the National Archives webpage, participants will explore “the ways in which the preservation of archival collections translates into the preservation of culture through the performance and artistry of individuals and communities across the United States and around the world.”

The Fair has four main features. First, a diverse range of musicians, dancers, singers, and performers will take the stage throughout the day in the Coulter Performance Plaza to illuminate the ways in which the archival record informs their work as artists. Second, a series of panel discussions in the SC Johnson Conference Center will reveal how archival documentation influences artistic expression, dance (bodies in motion), and access. Third, we will have representatives of over 20 archives and organizational repositories exhibiting at tables set up throughout Coulter Performance Plaza, sharing information about their archival work in a wide range of institutional, regional, and community contexts. Last (but definitely not least), visitors will have the rare opportunity to participate in a behind-the-scenes archives tour at the National Museum of American History’s Archives Center, home to some of the country’s most valuable archival collections.

Ultimately, this year’s event would not be happening were it not for the vision and collaboration between members of the National Archives Assembly, the Smithsonian Institution Archives and Special Collections Council, and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference DC and Maryland Caucuses. For more information about the schedule-of-events and a full list of the Fair’s participants, please visit the Archives Fair website and plan on arriving at the National Museum of American History when it opens at 10 a.m. The official welcoming and opening remarks will begin at 10:45 with the first performances and panel discussions taking place at 11!

We look forward to seeing you there!

Greg C. Adams, Assistant Archivist
Ralph Rinzler Folklife ArchivesSmithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

Monday, October 16, 2017

Bryson Jones’ Deep South Travelogue: A Glimpse into Tourism’s Impact on Southern Landscapes and Identities

As a summer intern at the National Anthropological Film Collection (formerly known as the Human Studies Film Archives) in the National Anthropological Archives I digitized clips from the documentary film Bryson Jones Travelogue: Deep South, ca. 1940. This film was used by an amateur travel-lecturer and documented his travels through the American South, focusing on popular tourist destinations. I believe the footage captured in this documentary is particularly valuable for anthropologists and historians alike because of its footage of southern tourism.

Florida oceanarium, likely Marine Studios, St. Augustine, Florida (frame grab sihsfa_1995_11_008_fg_1), National Anthropological Film Collection, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution.

But why should we care about southern tourism? Well, because the tourism industry is not only one of the South’s most powerful economic forces, tourism is also an incredibly important actor in the creation of southern imaginaries and landscapes and has played a significant role in shaping a unified and easily identifiable “southern” identity (Starnes; McIntyre). In the half-century after the Civil War, northern tourist writers marketed the South as an exotic, anti-modern, and picturesque escape from modern industrial society to the North’s “affluent urbanites” (Cox; McIntyre). Aiding the growth of southern tourism were rapidly improving and expanding transportation systems and an emerging northern middle class (Cox). Although the South was not the only region of the United States popular for travel during this time period, it was more accessible and less expensive to those Americans living in the North and Midwest who wanted to experience a change in landscape (Cox). The influx of tourists to the region aided in reimagining the South and transforming major cities while southern attractions began promoting a highly romanticized version of a mythic “Old South” and other contrived regional mythologies (McIntyre).

By 1940, tourists were flocking to popular southern tourist areas, many of which are captured in Bryson Jones’ travelogue. This film includes footage of New Orleans, Miami, Jamestown, Appomattox, and the Florida Keys. Each of these locations are examples of tourism’s pronounced impact on southern culture, identity, and landscape. For instance, New Orleans, previously cast as a dangerous “moral escape hatch,” was culturally white-washed and rebranded as a festive city with a romantic, foreign past during the interwar years (Stanonis; Souther). As tourism transformed New Orleans, Miami “burst upon the national consciousness” and its defining values of leisure and luxury appealed to tourists (Schrum). In Bryson Jones’s travelogue you can observe how the tourism industry and the rapid changes in the decades after the Civil War had manifested in both cities by 1940.

Also included in the travelogue are what appear to be two of Florida’s most popular tourist attractions, Marine Studios, popularly known as the “World’s First Oceanarium,” and Silver Springs State Park, a popular tourist destination that offered glass-bottom boat tours and the Ross Allen Reptile Institute. Although a small portion of Bryson Jones Travelogue: Deep South, the footage of Silver Springs State Park is a fascinating window into Florida tourism because of the ways in which this attraction and other similar ones invented a mythic history of Florida’s Everglades and Seminole people. Until the end of the 19th century the Seminoles were cast as “craven mixed-race killers” central to the view of Florida as a “forbidden land” (Knight). Around the turn of the century the Seminoles were recast as “benign specimens of moral and racial purity and saleable symbols of the state’s unique appeal” (Knight). In addition to the recasting of the Seminole Indians, south Florida’s growing popularity and real estate boom in the 1920s caused drainage canals to permeate deeper into the Everglades and erode the resources previously relied upon by the Seminoles (Knight). Thus, Seminoles were more and more likely to work at tourist sites. Tourist sites, such as Silver Springs, capitalized on the draw these newly recast Seminole Indians had on tourists and set up commercial Seminole tourist camps, where the inhabitants would sell crafts as souvenirs and wrestle alligators, as seen in Bryson Jones’ travelogue (Mechling). Alligator wrestling became synonymous with Seminole manhood, yet in reality was inauthentic and violated Seminole taboos about mistreatment of spiritually powerful animals (Frank). Regardless, the image of Seminole Indians constructed by Florida’s tourism industry entered popular culture and the larger southern imaginary.

Possibly Ross Allen or a Seminole Indian employed by Allen at the Reptile Institute, Silver Springs, Florida (frame grab sihsfa_1995_11_008_fg_2), National Anthropological Film Collection, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution.
Bryson Jones’ Deep South travelogue is not the only of his travel films housed at the NAFC. The NAFC received eight travelogues documenting his travels to all corners of the world during the late 1930s and early 1940s. These travel films can be found in the NAFC in the National Anthropological Archives, located at the Museum Support Center in Suitland, MD. You can also find clips from Bryson Jones Travelogue: Deep South on the HSFA YouTube channel.

Caroline Waller, Intern
National Anthropological Film Collection,
National Museum of Natural History

Cox, Karen L., ed. Destination Dixie: Tourism and Southern History. University Press of Florida, 2012. Florida Scholarship Online, 2013. doi: 10.5744/florida/9780813042374.001.0001.

Frank, Andrew K. "Authenticity for Sale: The Everglades, Seminole Indians, and the Construction of a Pay-Per-View Culture." In Destination Dixie: Tourism and Southern History, edited by Karen L. Cox. University Press of Florida, 2012. Florida Scholarship Online, 2013. doi: 10.5744/florida/9780813042374.003.0014.

Kelly Schrum, Gary R. Mormino; Travel, Tourism, and Urban Growth in Greater Miami: A Digital Archive, Created and maintained by the Otto G. Richter Library, University of Miami, Fla. Reviewed Feb.–April 2007. J Am Hist 2007; 94 (3): 1045-1046. doi: 10.2307/25095307

Knight, Henry. "'Savages of Southern Sunshine': Racial Realignment of the Seminoles in the Selling of Jim Crow Florida." Journal of American Studies 48, no. 01 (2014): 251-73. doi:10.1017/s002187581300128x.

McIntyre, Rebecca Cawood. "Introduction." In Souvenirs of the Old South: Northern Tourism and Southern Mythology. University Press of Florida, 2011. Florida Scholarship Online, 2011. doi: 10.5744/florida/9780813036953.003.0001.

Mechling, Jay. Florida Seminoles and the Marketing of the Last Frontier. Westview, 1996.

Starnes, Richard D., ed. Southern Journeys : Tourism, History, and Culture in the Modern South. Tuscaloosa, US: University of Alabama Press, 2014. Accessed July 10, 2017. ProQuest ebrary.

Stanonis, Anthony J.. Creating the Big Easy : New Orleans and the Emergence of Modern Tourism, 1918-1945. Athens, US: University of Georgia Press, 2006. Accessed July 12, 2017. ProQuest ebrary.

Souther, Jonathan Mark. New Orleans on Parade : Tourism and the Transformation of the Crescent City. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2006.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Flashback Friday: Lantern slides of the Florida Everglades

Lantern slide depicting Alanson Skinner's expedition to the Florida Everglades in 1910. National Museum of the American Indian, L00300.
For Flashback Friday, let’s go to Florida in 1910. This hand-colored lantern slide depicts three men following behind an oxen team pulling a cart through the waters of the Florida Everglades. The man on the left is possibly Alanson Skinner (anthropologist), the Seminole man in the center is wearing a foksikco bi, or 'big shirt', and the man on right may be their guide Frank Brown.

This photo was probably shot by Julian A. Dimock. In 1910 the American Museum of Natural History in New York sent anthropologist Alanson B. Skinner to conduct ethnographic field research on the Seminole people of the Florida Everglades. Both Skinner and professional photographer Julian A. Dimock photographed the expedition.

In 1916 Skinner joined the staff of the Museum of the American Indian. He probably used this and other lantern slides for public lectures. He may have donated the images to the museum, or they may have been found among his things following his death in an automobile accident in 1925 while he was on a collecting trip to South Dakota for the museum.

To see more photos from this expedition, check out the set on the Smithsonian Collections Search Center.

Emily Moazami, Assistant Head Archivist
National Museum of the American Indian

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Microfilm Memories

Man microfilming newspapers. Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
A “Throwback Thursday” seems like an ideal time to contemplate that quaint photographic technology called microfilm, which nearly everyone assures me is obsolete in the face of digital technology. Many gazillions of rolls of microfilm are being supplanted in libraries and other repositories by digital copies. Internet searches on microfilm indicate that it is dead or dying. Yet just this month I found advertisements for new, sleek, futuristic (and expensive) microfilm cameras. I haven’t researched this apparent contradiction (fake news or fake advertising?), but it is clear that microfilm is hardly as popular as it once was as a means of (a) preservation copying or (b) miniaturization. As Bob Horton, the Chair of the National Museum of American History's Archives Center notes, "One of the biggest reasons people prefer digital to microfilm is we all carry the capacity to read digital images in our pocket – reading microfilm is a bit more challenging."

I first became fascinated with microfilm while researching its rather romantic history (think microphotography for espionage) for our museum’s exhibitions on the history of photography years ago. Later I took a course on microfilming as a preservation tool from the Northeast Document Conservation Center, partly because the Archives Center had inherited an ancient Recordak microfilm camera from the Smithsonian Institution Archives and I wondered if we had a use for it. I experimented with it, and exposed and processed some film. As a favor to Dr. Alixa Naff, donor of the Archives Center’s Naff Arab American Collection, I filmed two books borrowed from other institutions, adding one microfilm to her collection, and establishing the other, the History of Young Men of Deir-El-Kamar and Suburbs: Account Book, ca. 1926-1950, as a separate collection. Although the latter has been used by researchers, no one ever asked to purchase a copy of the entire microfilm until this month. In order to fill the request, I’ve had to consider whether a microfilm copy or asking the requester to pay for a digital version would be most suitable.

Microfilm has been criticized because so much of it is of dismally low quality, especially in terms of operator errors such as skipped pages. Operator errors were often blamed on the evils of the mind-numbing repetitious work. After using a microfilm camera myself, I became convinced that a culture of speed and a production-line mentality actually caused the operator fatigue, boredom, and carelessness that produced many mistakes. I explored the benefits of slower, meticulous filming—for which the old-fashioned microfilm camera was actually well-suited. On one hand, the classic Kodak Recordak camera seemed primitive because it lacked a variable-aperture lens. On the other, uniform exposure was achieved by altering the light level with a rheostat; the camera, perfected in the 1930s, had a built-in light meter! It also had an auto-focus feature, plus a rangefinder for greater precision, meaning that one could change the height of the camera without refocusing. You could take the time to match the camera height to the size of the item being photographed (as any conscientious photographer using an ordinary camera on a copy stand would do to make lecture slides), yet without seriously impeding the production level and rhythm of microfilming. It seemed to me that the practice of framing each object individually, utilizing the autofocus feature, could in itself aid consistency.

Speaking of speed, when we began scanning the Archives Center’s Scurlock collection negatives, it was clear that microfilming was much faster than scanning! Through a pilot project with a contractor, several thousand Scurlock negatives had been microfilmed, and we later obtained sample scans of impressive visual quality from a few frames, giving us both preservation surrogates and versatile digital versions.

My favorite feature of the Recordak was its variable frame size, combined with an automatic, compensating film wind. If you desired, you could produce a sequence of frames of different sizes, such as a vertical image on the film, followed by a wide panorama. I discovered that most microfilmers seemed unaware of these nifty features, generally setting the camera height for the largest item in a particular job—for example, a newspaper page—then never adjusting the camera height for smaller items. The user of the film was expected to change the viewer magnification, thereby contributing to microfilm-viewing fatigue. It seemed to me that the technical advantages of microfilm camera design were seldom exploited to good advantage. I know: that concern may be moot nowadays.

The Archives Center’s Scurlock collection includes photographs showing microfilm camera operators at work, as above, evidently with the familiar Recordak cameras.

David Haberstich, Curator of Photography
National Museum of American History, Archives Center


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Collections Spotlight: Freer Gallery of Art

After being closed for more than a year, the Freer | Sackler is reopening this weekend.  This closure has allowed the Freer | Sackler to completely reinstall all of their exhibitions and revitalize the building, which first opened to the public in 1926.  Importantly, in this revitalization the museum replaced crucial climate control and humidity control systems; work that will ensure the collection is preserved for generations to come. 

IlluminAsia: A Festival of Asian Art, Food, and Cultures - Join us for a festival of Asian art, food that will transform the museums’ grounds with an Asian food market, interactive cooking and art demonstrations, live music by members of the Silkroad Ensemble, and creations by local and international artists. 
This weekend the Freer | Sackler, the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, and all of the Smithsonian is celebrating the grand reopening with IlluminAsia, a festival of Asian art, food, and cultures. As we wait for the festival to begin on Saturday night, here is a peak at some of Smithsonian Institution Archives' photos of the beginnings of the Freer Gallery of Art. 

Construction of the Freer Gallery of Art. Smithsonian Institution Archives, Image # MAH-29337. 
 This October 2, 1916 photograph shows digging of the foundation for the new Freer Gallery of Art. In the foreground equipment of George Hyman Contractors is loading excavated dirt onto horse-drawn carts. Visible in the background is the brick shed built in 1875, called the Laboratory of Natural History, and the Smithsonian Institution Building. The shed, which was used by taxidermists and preparators as well as photographers, was demolished during the course of construction work.

J. Bundy in Freer Gallery of Art Courtyard with Peacocks. Smithsonian Institution Archives, Image # SIA2007-0175. 
John Bundy, Superintendent, 1921-1939, Freer Gallery of Art, and Superintendent of Construction, 1919-1928, kneels as he feeds pellets to peacocks in the courtyard of the Freer Gallery of Art. Bundy is holding a dish in his left hand. Peacocks occupied the courtyard for many years. The National Zoological Park lent the peacocks to the Freer Gallery. The Annual Report for the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1923 notes that the peacocks were moved from the courtyard of Freer Gallery of Art to the National Zoological Park for the winter.

Explore more about the Freer | Sackler: 
IlluminAsia: A Festival of Asian Art, Food, and Cultures
- Historic Pictures of the Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Blog Post: Cleaning Up Freer's Attic
- Blog Post: Sneak Peek: Freer Gallery of Art

Lisa Fthenakis, Program Assistant
Smithsonian Institution Archives

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

In the Heart of the Storm: The Resilience of Culture

This post originally appeared on September 19, 2017 in the Smithsonian Folklife Festival's blog. In honor of October being American Archives Month, we republish it here as an example of how the archival record can help us focus on the importance of cultural resilience in times of catastrophe. The photographs and audio used in this piece are all a part of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival Records .

Young people of the U.S. Virgin Islands march along in a carnival parade, amid the destruction of Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Photo by Mary Jane Soule, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
When news started coming in about the catastrophic damage Hurricane Irma brought to the Caribbean, I happened to be filing materials from the 1990 Smithsonian Folklife Festival’s program about the U.S. Virgin Islands. In my twenty-nine years at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, I’ve produced a healthy amount of research, but in going through those particular boxes, I felt odd reverberations.

On September 17, 1989, in the midst of ongoing research for the U.S. Virgin Islands program, Hurricane Hugo struck the islands, with the greatest damage occurring in St. Croix. As described in a Washington Post special report, “Not only was Christiansted strewn with uprooted trees, broken utility poles, shattered cars and tons of debris from buildings that looked bombed, but the verdant tropical island suddenly had turned brown. So strong were Hugo’s winds that most trees still standing were shorn of leaves.” While St. Croix suffered the brunt of the storm, St. Thomas and St. John were also significantly damaged.

We wondered if we should cancel or defer the Festival program to let the region recuperate, physically and financially. But our partners in the Virgin Islands responded with one voice: now, more than ever, the people of the Virgin Islands needed a cultural event to raise their spirits, remind them of their resilience, and tell the world they were recovering. It is particularly in times of disaster that people turn to culture not only for solace but for survival.

“The recent disaster of Hurricane Hugo made fieldwork a little more difficult than usual,” reported Mary Jane Soule, who was doing research on musicians in St. Croix. “I was unable to rent a car for the first five days I was there, which limited my mobility. Many phones were still not working, so getting in touch with informants was harder than usual. However, once I actually located the individuals I wanted to see, I found most of them willing to talk.”

Photo by Mary Jane Soule, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.

Photo by Mary Jane Soule, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
A local press announced that, regardless of the circumstances, the Three Kings Day Parade would not be canceled: “Neither rain or hurricane nor winds nor controversy will stop the Crucian Christmas Fiesta.” In her field research tape log, Soule lists the role of Hugo in the fiesta, adding that calypso bands had recorded songs about it.

“Eve’s Garden troop is depicting Hugo,” she wrote. “The No Nonsense (music and dance) troop is doing ‘The Hugo Family’ depicting the looting and tourists on the run. Mighty Pat’s song ‘Hurricane Hugo’ played from speakers on one of the numerous trucks. Sound Effex (band) can be heard playing ‘Hugo Gi Yo’ (Hugo Gives You).”

Several months later when staff returned to the islands, “Hugo Gi Yo” was still very popular, as were the black, monographed sailors’ caps that proclaimed “Stress Free Recovery for 1990, St. Thomas, V.I.” 

Songs about Hugo relieved anxiety. Many people had lost everything. But like all good calypso tunes, they comically contributed to the oral history of the islands. Look at the verses of “Hugo Gi Yo”:

It was the seventeenth of September 1989 Hugo take over.
Hey, that hurricane was a big surprise,
When it hit St. Croix from the southeast side.
Hey rantanantantan man the roof fall down.
Rantanantantan galvanize around…
No water, no power, no telephone a ring.
We people we dead; there’s nothing to drink….
The band Sound Effex plays for bystanders in a carnival parade in St. Croix, Virgin Islands. Photo by Mary Jane Soule, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
Listen to "Hugo Gi Yo", played by Sound Effex at Children’s Parade in Christiansted, St. Croix, January 5, 1990:

Calypso songs are noted for their social commentary on events as well as on responses from mainstream society. The Washington Post reported on St. Croix following the hurricane: “The plunder started on the day after the Sunday night storm, as panicky islanders sought to stock up on food. It quickly degenerated into a free-for-all grab of all sorts of consumer goods that some witnesses likened to a ‘feeding frenzy.’ Three days of near-anarchy followed Hugo’s terrible passage during the night of Sept. 17-18 and prompted President Bush to dispatch about 1,100 Army military police and 170 federal law-enforcement officers, including 75 FBI and a ‘special operations group’ of U.S. Marshalls Service.”

In turn, “Hugo Gi Yo” responds:

You no broke nothing.
You no thief nothing.
You no take nothing.
Hugo give you. 
As program research advisor Gilbert Sprauve explained, calypsonians “lend themselves heartily to expressing the underclass’s frustrations and cynicism. They make their mark with lyrics that strike at the heart of the system’s dual standards.”

A parade goer prepares her sign, jokingly addressing the post-hurricane looting that plagued the island of St. Croix. Photo by Mary Jane Soule, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.

Another resident readies her sarcastic sign for the parade. Photo by Mary Jane Soule, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
Mighty Pat’s parade float encourages fellow residents to “stay positive.” Photo by Mary Jane Soule, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
Soule transcribed existing racial and economic tensions in St. Croix expressed in Mighty Pat’s “Hurricane Hugo”:

After the hurricane pass, people telling me to sing a song quickly.
Sing about the looting, sing about the thiefing, black and white people doing.
Sing about them Arabs, up on the Plaza rooftop
With grenade and gun, threaten to shoot the old and the young.
Curfew a big problem, impose on only a few, poor people like me and you.
Rich man roaming nightly, poor man stop by army, getting bust__________
Brutality by marshal, send some to hospital,
Some break down you door, shoot down and plenty more.
When I looked around and saw the condition
of our Virgin Island.
I tell myself advantage can’t done.
One day you rich. Next day you poor.
One day you up the ladder. Next day you
crawling on the floor.
Beauty is skin deep; material things is for a time.
A corrupted soul will find no peace of mind
I think that is all our gale Hugo was trying to say
to all mankind.
Don’t blame me. Hugo did that.
The ubiquitous coal pot depicted on the side of a snack shack in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Photo by Mary Jane Soule, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
Hurricane Hugo also came up in conversations about craft. Knowing the importance of charcoal making, especially in St. Croix, researcher Cassandra Dunn interviewed Gabriel Whitney St. Jules who had been making coal for at least forty years and was teaching his son the tradition. In Dunn’s summary report, thoughts of the hurricane are not far away.

“Cooking food by burning charcoal in a coal pot is a technique utilized in the West Indies and Caribbean from the mid-1800s,” she wrote. “Charcoal makers learned the techniques of using a wide variety of woods including that from mango, tibet, mahogany, and saman trees. After Hurricane Hugo, those in St. Croix who had lost access to gas or electricity reverted to charcoal and the coal pot.”

With similar stories from St. Thomas, it became clear that this quotidian cultural artifact that reconnected islanders with their heritage served as an essential item for survival with dignity. The image of the coal pot became central to the themes of the Festival program, both as a useful utensil and a symbol of resilience. To our surprise, the coal pot, which looks much like a cast iron Dutch oven, was identical to that used by participants in the Senegal program featured that same year and led to increased cultural interaction between the two groups. This prompted a re-staging of both programs in St. Croix a year later.

From St. Croix to Washington, D.C., Virgin Islanders bring their parade to the National Mall for the 1990 Folklife Festival. Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution.
The cultural responses to Hurricane Hugo and those I suspect we’ll see following the calamitous hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria remind us that when disaster strikes, whether natural, social, political, or economic, communities often turn to shared cultural resources. Stories, experiences, and traditional skills prove useful, inspiring us to overcome obstacles and help our communities regain their footing.

Olivia Cadaval was the program curator for the U.S. Virgin Islands program at the 1990 Folklife Festival and is currently a curator and chair of cultural research and education at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

View the original post here.

Sprauve, Gilbert. “About Man Betta Man, fission and Fusion, and Creole, Calypso and Cultural Survival in the Virgin Islands, 1990 Festival of American Folklife, edited by Peter Seitel, Smithsonian, 1990.

Monday, October 9, 2017

A Summer with Helen

Joseph Garry and Helen Peterson at the NCAI Convention in Spokane, WA, 1955. National Congress of American Indian Records, Photo Folder 158. National Museum of the American Indian, Archive Center. 
As I neared the end of my internship at the National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center this past summer, I was able to take some time to reflect on my work processing the Helen Peterson papers (NMAI.AC.016).  While I was not the first person to process this collection, I do think I got to see a different part of Helen Peterson’s life.  My predecessor, Carla Davis-Castro, dealt mostly with Helen’s materials from her time working at the National Congress of the American Indians (NCAI), the City and County of Denver Commission on Community Relations (CCR), American Indian Development, Inc. (AID), and the White Buffalo Council which deal with Helen’s work between the 1940s to the 1970s.  You can read Carla's blog about here work here. While I did get to process through some materials relating to her time in NCAI, CCR, AID, and the White Buffalo Council, most of what I processed related to her life before and after working at these institutions.  Helen was alive from 1915 to 2000 so there was a large portion of her life that had not yet been explored through the collection.

From 1970 to 1985 Helen was a part of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).  During her time with the BIA, she went to the United Kingdom to talk about Native Americans.  Around this same time, President Reagan made some uneducated remarks about reservations, catching the attention of the BIA and people that Helen knew, and prompting a response from the Native American community.
Helen was also a very religious person, who was active in the Episcopal Church.  She started her own church called the Church of the Four Winds.  While she wasn’t a pastor she was the leader of the church.  She maintained an active role in the church during the late 1980s through the 1990s.

Church of the Four Winds Flyers, 1991. Helen Peterson papers. National Museum of the American Indian, Archive Center. 

While it was interesting learning more about the professional side to Helen Peterson, my favorite series to work with was her Personal one.  She had many personal materials including letters from her granddaughter, personal photographs, holiday cards, and cards from her 80th birthday.  This collection really showed how many people loved Helen and highlighted her connection to the people in her life.  Her personal papers also revealed how her life was not always happy.  I found out that following the death of her mother and brother, Helen sought psychiatric help.  As a part of the grieving process,  Helen wrote letters to her mother and brother to help her cope with the many emotions after both of their deaths.  While it was sad to go through these letters, I am glad I was able to read through them, as these letters were more than just materials that needed to be filed away they were the gateway to see Helen Peterson the person.

Letters from Helen Peterson to her mother and brother following their deaths, 1992. Helen Peterson papers. National Museum of the American Indian, Archive Center. 

Sarah Rick, Summer Intern (2017)
National Museum of the American Indian, Archive Center

For more information about NMAI Internship program please visit NMAI’s website here.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Flashback Friday: Revisiting Zorn

Elayne Zorn spent many years and much of her professional career as a museum collector and anthropologist in the Andean regions of Peru and Bolivia. Although it was her interest in textiles and traditional weaving techniques that first brought Zorn to the Island of Taquile in Peru, she was also a musician and took a great interest in festivals (see Fiesta Fiesta in the Elayne Zorn collection). When Elayne passed away in 2010 her son donated her large collection of musical instruments, textiles and archival materials to the National Museum of the American Indian.

Men playing charangos at a festival in Puno, Peru. Elayne Zorn collection. National Museum of the American Indian, Archives. Smithsonian Institution. 

Field notebook from Taquile, Peru, 1975-1976. Box 1, Folder 6 Elayne Zorn collection. National Museum of the American Indian, Archives. Smithsonian Institution. 
Often times as archivists we become attached to certain collections, or more specifically to the people whose papers we can spend months getting intimately acquainted with. For me, the Elayne Zorn collection has always been one I have held close. Processing Elayne’s collection of field notes, tens of thousands of photographs and array of other materials was one of the first projects I was assigned as a professional at the NMAI back in 2011. Soon after finishing the collection I had the pleasure to work with Aymar Ccopacatty an Aymara artist participating in the 2012 NMAI Artist Leadership program. Aymar, who learned traditional weaving techniques from his grandmother in Puno, Peru, was the first researcher to look at the Zorn materials. He immediately recognized individuals in the photographs from Puno, Peru and requested scans to take back to his community.

Festival in Puno, Peru, 1989.  Elayne Zorn collection.
National Museum of the American Indian, Archives.
Smithsonian Institution. 
Festival in Puno, Peru, 1989. Elayne Zorn collection.
National Museum of the American Indian, Archives.
Smithsonian Institution. 

Since 2012 I had little opportunity to engage with the Zorn collection. This past year however a project to survey the object collections and enhance their records, led by Maia Truesdale-Scott, has brought attention back to the archival materials. Because of Maia’s work, departments across the museum, scholarship, collections management, conservation, registration and archives, have come together to examine the collection as a whole. This work has also given me the chance to reconnect with Aymar who was recently brought in by our conservation department as a consultant to review textiles. Due to the advancement of digital projects at NMAI in the last five years it is now much easier for us to digitize and make available the Puno photographs in the Zorn collection using the SOVA (Smithsonian Online Virtual Archive). Moving forward the Archive Center, working collaboratively with Aymar, will be able to ensure these images find their way back to the community where they were taken.

For more information about Maia’s work on the Zorn collection be on the lookout for an upcoming blogpost!

For more information on Aymar’s art visit:

Rachel Menyuk, Processing Archivist
National Museum of the American Indian, Archive Center

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Haskell Institute Football

Seven men from the 1930 Haskell football team posing for group portrait outside Hiawatha Hall on the Haskell Institute campus in Lawrence, Kansas. (National Museum of the American Indian, Archives, Smithsonian Institution, P27657)
For this Throwback Thursday, let us go back to the 1930 football season. This photograph depicts the members of the Haskell Institute football team posing outside Hiawatha Hall on the campus in Lawrence, Kansas. The men are from left to right: Arnes Barlow, Paul Edge, Leonard Barlow, Guy Bush, Charles Bernard, and Led Wilson.

The Haskell Institute’s nationally recognized football team was coached by John Levi [1898-1946; Inunaina (Arapaho)], who was a Haskell full-back himself in the mid-twenties and led his team to many victories.

This photo is part of the National Museum of the American Indian’s recently processed and digitized Haskell Institute photograph album (NMAI.AC.105). To learn more about the Haskell Institute and check out the entire collection, head on over to the Smithsonian Online Virtual Archives (SOVA).

Emily Moazami, Assistant Head Archivist
National Museum of the American Indian

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Uncovering History with the Smithsonian Transcription Center

Since the Smithsonian Transcription Center launched in June of 2013, dedicated volunteers around the world have helped the Smithsonian transcribe more than 322,000 pages of materials like journals, logbooks, botanical specimens, and photographs. If you’re familiar with the Transcription Center, you may have noticed we like to use the word “volunpeer” to describe the more than 9,300 volunpeers who contribute. The idea is that we all help one another to get the most accurate, usable transcriptions. As a result, we not only make knowledge more accessible but we preserve and promote cultural heritage.

Some of the most rewarding moments with the Transcription Center occur when volunpeers share what they uncover. Recently, while transcribing U.S. naturalist Vernon Bailey’s field books from an 1890 expedition, volunpeers were caught by surprise when they read in his field book that he had captured and eaten a golden eagle. Volunpeers following our Twitter account engaged in a lively discussion and even got the Smithsonian Institution Archives to chime in. Check it out:

In some journals, authors' personalities seem to leap right from the page. Take, for instance, Robert Kennicott's colorful telegrams to Spencer Baird, Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian at the time, from 1865-1866.

Baird appointed the young Kennicott as the lead naturalist for the 1865 Western Union Telegraph Expedition in search of a suitable route for a telegraph cable across the Bering Strait. Even before embarking on the voyage, however, Kennicott's relationship with the expedition’s leader, Colonel Charles Bulkley, was strained. In one telegram transcribed by volunpeers, Kennicott writes to Baird in hopes that his reputation will be cleared should he die or possibly be killed on the voyage. In the image below, you can see his handwritten letter beside the transcription form used by volunpeers.

In this telegram to Spencer Baird, Robert Kennicott writes: "Should I die I fear [Bulkley] might not find it for the company's interests to take any special pains to make my true record clear. This [is] because some of his subalterns are jealous of me."
Kennicott would die the next year at age 30, and his death remained a mystery until only recently. Read this blog post by the Smithsonian Institution Archives to find out more.

"I've some pleasant memories to take to the arctics with me, and am keeping one little soft spot in my heart despite the general hardening of that organ. Such is life." - Robert Kennicott.

What's Next for the Transcription Center?

In September, the National Air and Space Museum's archives department put up their own project for transcription: the Joseph Mountain collection. The collection follows Joseph D. Mountain’s career as a U.S. Air Service pilot who served as an aerial survey photographer for a 1934-1935 expedition to Saudi Arabia. It captures a snapshot of traditional Saudi Arabian life and it has proven to be popular among volunpeers. In just 7 days, 411 pages were transcribed and reviewed! There are more pages available to transcribe, although we're certain they won’t last long. But don't worry -- we have more projects in the pipeline. Stay tuned.

An image from the Joseph Mountain collection.

On Saturday, September 23, 2017, we spent the day at the Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum for the DC History for All: Volunteer Fair event where we joined local cultural heritage institutions to share how residents can help preserve local history. You can read a summary of the event here in this blog post by the Library of Congress.

If you missed us and happen to be in Washington, D.C. throughout October, say, "Hello," to us at the 2017 Smithsonian Digitization Fair from October 18-19 and at the 2017 Archives Fair on October 21.

We’re grateful to our more than 9,300 volunpeers who make the Transcription Center possible, not to mention the 15 Smithsonian galleries, libraries, archives, and museums who provide us with content to transcribe.

Want to help preserve history with the Smithsonian? Visit us at and let's see what you uncover.

Andres Almeida, Coordinator

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Before the National Portrait Gallery had a Building

Forty nine years ago this week the National Portrait Gallery held opening ceremonies at its new home in the former Patent Office Building.  While you can visit their current home today, the National Portrait Gallery was established before it found this permanent home and portrait collections at the Smithsonian were among the earliest collections the Smithsonian, acquired in the 1840s. 

Picture Gallery, U.S. National Museum, 1906. Smithsonian Institution Archives, MAH-20026.
In 1919, citizens began active lobbying for a separate gallery devoted to American portraiture.  In the same year, the Smithsonian endorsed the National Art Commission to document a pictorial record of World War I with portraits of American and Allied Nations leaders.  Twenty portraits from this collection were put on exhibit in the Natural History Building in May 1921.  These portraits became the nucleus of the National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection and highlight the central mission of the National Portrait Gallery. Even at this early date, the National Portrait Gallery was not a fine art museum, it seeks to tell the story of America by portraying the people who shape the nation’s history, development, and culture.

War Portrait Room of National Gallery, 1921. Smithsonian Institution Archives, MAH-8625B
In the museum’s authorization in 1962, Congress established its mission to acquire and display portraits of "men and women who have made significant contributions to the history, development, and culture of the people of the United States." Documenting the history and culture of America every bit as much as the National Museum of American History.  In its first exhibition in the Arts and Industries Building, sixty five portraits by fifty two artists are gathered as The Nucleus for a National Collection, which opened for the bicentennial of James Smithson’s birth.

National Portrait Gallery in the Old Patent Office Building, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 92-1710
Three years later, the National Portrait Gallery finally was able to hold opening ceremonies in its own building. On October 5th, Smithsonian Secretary S. Dillon Ripley and Mayor Walter E. Washington attended a dedication ceremony and opening gala for the new building. Originally, the Patent Office Building, this 330,000 square foot building was begun in 1836, but wasn’t completed until 32 years later. Government agencies occupied the building until 1958, when it was transferred to the Smithsonian to save it from demolition. Though it didn’t officially become a Smithsonian building until 1958, it was the first building to house Smithsonian collections. Prior to the completion of the Smithsonian Institution Building (the Castle) in 1855 the U.S. Patent Office housed and exhibited the Smithsonian Collections. After a ten-year renovation, the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum moved in. On October 6, 1968, an opening is held for the Smithsonian Associates and on October 7, 1968, the Gallery is opened to the public.

You can see more photos of the dedication and opening gala here, here, and here

Lisa Fthenakis, Program Assistant
Smithsonian Institution Archives 

Monday, October 2, 2017

October is American Archives Month: The Power of Collaboration

Happy American Archives Month! To celebrate, the Smithsonian Collections blog is running its seventh annual blog-a-thon with blog posts every weekday in October.

This year’s theme is the Power of Collaboration. An apt choice for this particular blog, as we are a collaboration between archives, museums, and libraries across the Smithsonian.  The power of collaboration resonates deeply across the Smithsonian as scholars from diverse disciplines work together to ‘increase and diffuse knowledge.’ I suspect James Smithson would be delighted to think that the institution he endowed would go on to study and foster collaboration between topics as diverse as African Art, Astrophysics, American History and Natural History. 

This month we will be posting stories about collaboration in archives and initiatives across the Smithsonian.  The Smithsonian Transcription Center through the power of collaboration has made more than 321,274 pages transcribed and text searchable, making them available not only to scholars, but anyone with access to an internet connection.  Along with the Collections Search Center, SOVA – our online virtual archives, and SIRIS - the Smithsonian Institution Research Information System, these Smithsonian collaborations make our collections and the knowledge they help us create more accessible and useful

Locally, we will be celebrating at the 2017 Archives Fair at the National Museum of American History on Saturday, October 21st. A collaboration between Smithsonian Institution Archives and Special Collections Council, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference DC and Maryland Caucuses, and the National Archives Assembly that will highlight the power of the cultural heritage and the stewardship archives provide to preserve it.  Come join us to explore the ways in which the preservation of archival collections translates into the preservation of culture and how collaborations between artists and archives nurture cultural heritage.

Here at the Smithsonian Collections blog, we bring Archivists, Museum Specialists, and Librarians together to highlight their collections, current work, and the curiosities of working with collections.  With recent blogs ranging from ethnographic fieldwork to solar eclipses and National Aviation Day, this blog is a collaboration that highlights the simply amazing variety of things we can learn from each other.  The Collection Search Center is a collaboration that brings together over 12 million objects, archival collections and library materials; we hope that this month our blog can give you a peak into the work that makes these collections available and these collaborations possible.

Remember to check back every day for new content from across the Smithsonian!

Lisa Fthenakis, Program Assistant
Smithsonian Institution Archives