The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Posts tagged with: American History
- A new Flickr set of the fieldwork of Helmut Buechner is now available from the Field Book Project. [via Field Book Project blog, NMNH and SIA]
- The new Puppetry in America display case is now open at the National Museum of American History. [via O Say Can You See?, NMAH]
- The British Library just released over a million images onto Flickr Commons for anyone to use, remix and repurpose. [via Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig, SIA]
- Ever wanted to know about the history of the Christmas tree? If so, Smithsonian Gardens has the answer. [via Smithsonian Gardens blog, Smithsonian Gardens]
- The U. S. Census Bureau just released Census Explorer, a new interactive mapping tool that gives users easier access to neighborhood level statistics. [via InfoDocket]
- Can wait for it? A glimpse of what the Museum of Science Fiction could look like. [via Underwire, Wired]
- What do you call a mashup of a library and retired food truck? BiblioTrucka of course! The concept is a meant to be a cost-effective new-age mobile library. [via InfoDocket]
- Not something you do every day, moving a 1400 pound Right whale skull at the Smithsonian. [via Around the Mall, Smithsonian Magazine]
An update on the career and family life of chemist Fern P. Rathe, featured in the Women in Science Wednesday post on July 17, 2013.
While communicating with her family and preparing this update, we learned that Fern P. Rathe passed away peacefully on September 27, 2013. We are honored to share more of her story with you below.
For Women in Science Wednesday on July 17, we featured Fern P. Rathe, part of the Merck research team that isolated the antibiotic cathomycin in 1955. Some of our readers found it disconcerting that so little information was available about her accomplishments and research; so we set out to find out more about this inspiring chemist.
The following biography was composed by Fern's husband, John.
Fern Pfafflin was born January 8, 1930 in La Crosse Wisconsin. Her parents were Edward and Bessie (Chalsma) Pfafflin. She grew up on a farm near New Amsterdam, Wisconsin, and went to a one-room rural schoolhouse there. She went to high school in nearby Holmen, Wisconsin, was valedictorian of her class, and graduated in 1948. Fern attended Carleton College in Northfield Minnesota and graduated with a Bachelors degree in 1952. Her college major was chemistry and zoology.
After college graduation she was employed by Merck and Company, Rahway, New Jersey as a biochemist working under Dr. Folkers. She was involved in research on numerous biologic projects, one of which was a search for new antibiotics. Novobiacin was crystallized at her lab bench in Merck's research laboratory. Several other women were working in the Merck Research Lab at that time, one of whom was Helen Gager; a good friend of Fern, she went on to teaching at Sweet Briar College.
Fern was married in 1953, and lived in New York City with her husband John. She continued to work at Merck until she started her family in 1956. She subsequently lived in Moline, IL, where she lived with her husband and four children. She was active in numerous community organizations, and was a private pilot with a twin-engine rating until she became an insulin-dependent Diabetic. She was a member of the local chapter of the "99's" and flew co-pilot in the Powder Puff Derby Air Race in 1971.
Fern passed away in September 2013 after suffering from advanced Parkinson's Disease for the past several years; her family has created a collection of links and further information, available here.
Please let us know if you have other information to share about Rathe and other female chemists, pilots, and awe-inspiring women in science – we welcome your comments below!
Today marks the 10th Anniversary of the legislation which established the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) at the Smithsonian Institution. Here is a timeline of key moments in their history thus far:
- December 16, 2003 - Public Law 108-184 - National Museum of African American History and Culture Act establishes the museum at the Smithsonian
- October 2004 - Board of Regents appoints nineteen members to the National Museum of African American History and Culture Council to serve as advisors to the project
- March 14, 2005 - Lonnie G. Bunch III, then director of the Chicago Historical Society, was appointed Founding Director of the museum
- January of 2006 - Board of Regents selects the museum site on the National Mall near the Washington Monument on the southwest corner of 14th Street and Constitution Avenue, Northwest
- 2007-2008 - Staff complete extensive planning for the museum building, and an Environmental and Historic Preservation Report in May 2008
- 2007 - Museum staff complete their inaugural exhibit, Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits, at the National Museum of American History
- 2008 - Save Our African American Treasures Program begins with workshops on the preservation of historical materials for African American communities across the country
- April 2009 - The design team of Freelon Adjaye Bond/Smith Group was selected from among twenty-two entries submitted by architectural firms worldwide
- 2010 - Exhibition - Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment
- 2011 - Exhibition - The Kinsey Collection: Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, Where Art and History Intersect and For All the World to See
- February 22, 2012 - Groundbreaking ceremony for the museum
- November 17, 2013 - First objects get installed in the museum
- Snow days in DC are not the most frequent occurence, but when they do happen it is not just people who enjoy it, but also the animals at the National Zoo and its Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia who enjoy the snow. [viaThe Torch, SI]
- Nelson Mandela passed away last week at the age of 95. Check out some of his video appearances on C-SPAN. [via InfoDocket]
- Also if you are at the National Museum of African Art you can also sign a condolence book for Nelson Mandela that will after today be sent to Mandela’s family in South Africa. [via Around the Mall blog, Smithsonian Magazine]
- Up and running . . . Historian of the National Archives, Jessie Kratz, is keeping busy documenting the history of the National Archives. [AOTUS blog, NARA]
- A retrospective of the work of photographer Eliot Elisofon is now on view in Africa ReViewed: The Photographic Legacy of Eliot Elisofon at the National Museum of African Art. [via Around the Mall blog, Smithsonian Magazine]
- Recently acquired in 2012, Constantino Brumidi's Study for the Apotheosis of Washington in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol Building can be viewed on the second floor of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Check out this video that explores the symbolism in the painting as well as highlights discoveries made during conservation. [via Eye Level blog, SAAM]