The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Posts tagged with: American History
- Happy Halloween! No doubt in some way your life will be touched by candy today. In honor of that here's a look at the history of prepackaged candy. [via O Say Can You See? blog, NMAH]
- Halloween cards abound in the New York Public Library's collections. [via NYPL blog]
- An all too common condition, missing metadata - CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) is asking for people's help in identifying scientists, equipment and projects being working on in images from their photograph archives. [via PetaPixel]
- Thousands of unseen lunar images will come to light and be in the public domain as part of the Surveyor Digitization Project. [via InfoDocket]
- Listen up - The Archive of Contemporary Music and the Internet Archive team up to create a music library. [via Internet Archive Blogs]
- Stanford Libraries makes available the earliest known website in the United States from 1991 for the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. [via Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig, SIA]
- An important question to be answered on Halloween - Can Cats Really Make Rats into Zombies? [via Smithsonian Magazine]
The end of the fiscal year is a time to clear the decks and prepare for a fresh start. Everyone knows about closing out the budgetary year – the clue's in the name – but, there are other tasks, too. For example, performance reviews. Most everyone loathes them – both giving and receiving - yet they are a necessary evil. What's especially difficult is how to administer them with fairness and efficiency. The solution – standard form – is not new. In fact, here are a couple of performance review forms with rating scales and numeric values I found in the Archives. Although the forms are simple and direct, these would never be allowed today. Take a look and see:
The first example is my favorite. It is one page (there is room to write in detailed comments on the back) and can be used for any worker from laborer to upper management. It has a graphic scale, along which are terms to guide the rater allowing them to complete the task quickly and efficiency. The rating scale works from left to right – take a close look at the terms sprinkled along each line. That's right: slovenly, lazy and repellent.
Just two years later the form was still one page, but it is much less "nuanced" than its predecessor and not nearly so descriptive. So if you happen to be giving or receiving a performance review soon, I hope that you enjoyed this historic look back at the time-honored ritual of performance reviews.
- Accession 05-123: Smithsonian Institution, Personnel Records, 1892-1952, Smithsonian Institution Archives
Beards seem to get all the attention these days. So in honor of Bald and Free Day and to all of those of you who are hair impared, we present to you a Bald and Free Smithsonian.
- Record Unit 7433 - Ruel P. Tolman Collection, 1909-1964, Smithsonian Institution Archive
- Accession 11-008 - Office of Public Affairs, Photographic Collection, 1960-1970, Smithsonian Institution Archives
Appropriately funereal for approaching Halloween, this military cortege accompanied James Smithson's remains from the Washington Navy Yard to the Smithsonian, on January 23, 1904. James Smithson (c.1765-1829) died in Genoa, Italy, and was buried there. However, after the turn of the century, the Smithsonian was notified that the graves were to be moved to allow quarrying on the cemetery site. Smithsonian Regent Alexander Graham Bell and his wife Mabel traveled to Italy to oversee the disinterment of Smithson's remains and their transportation to the Institution that his bequest created.
This photo will be used in an Explorer at Large internet documentary.
When asked what the Smithsonian Institution Archives collects, we say we hold records about the history of the Smithsonian and its people, programs, research, and activities. While accurate, this doesn't really give anyone a clue about what is actually in those records.
The Smithsonian Institution Archives Reference Term handles an average of around 6,000 queries per year, and if you ask us what people have been researching at the Archives recently, you'll get some pretty interesting responses. Although not comprehensive, here's a snapshot of the diverse range of information encompassed by the archives of the world's largest museum complex!
Over the past three months, researcher projects have included:
- African American history at the Smithsonian
- History of Tropical biology in the 20th century Caribbean
- Philippine collections at the Smithsonian
- World’s Fairs and Expositions
- William Whewell and Pre-Darwinian systematics
- The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
- Exploration and settlement of the American West
- History of African-American museums
- Tropical biology in the Pacific
- The Wilkes Exploring Expedition
- Smithsonian presentation of science to the public
- Botanical exploration in Lower California
Upcoming publications using our photos or documents include:
Mary Jane Rathbun, carcinologist at the United States National Museum, at left with Katherine J. Bush of Yale University, second from left, Charlotte Bush and Eloise Edwards at the Marine Biological Laboratory and United States Fish Commission Station at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, probably in the 1890s.
This photo will appear in Richard Conif’s projected book on the history of the Peabody Museum of Natural History .
- Ipswich School's Old Ipswichian magazine
- Trowelblazers, a blog on women in archaeology
- Lawrence Livermore National Library in a workshop honoring Dr. Stirling Colgate
- David J. Meltzer for his book, The Great Paleolithic War
- Arthur A. Spector, for “Discovery of Essential Fatty Acids” in the Journal of Lipid Research
- The Springfield, Missouri Conservation Nature Center
Most unusual reference inquiry:
Fox Television was given permission to use Archives images as set dressing for its popular television series Bones. Among them was this photo of T. Dale Stewart, physical anthropologist, Department of Anthropology, United States National Museum. The photograph was most likely taken in October 1950 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Stewart often examined skeletons for the FBI and pioneered the field of forensic anthropology.
- To boldy go - On September 11, 2014, the studio model of the Star Trek starship Enterprise, which has been on public display at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum since 1976, was removed for conservation in preparation for its new display location in the Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall, which will open in July 2016. [via AirSpace blog, NASM]
- As part of its exhibition, Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations, the National Museum of the American Indian will have on display the Haudenosaunee–U.S. Treaty of 1794. [via NMAI blog]
- Now online - 5 million First World War Prisoner Files from the Red Cross, The Barnard and Gardner Civil War Photographic Albums at Duke University, and 35,000 artworks from the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. [via InfoDocket]
- Additional guidance came out this week from the National Archives on managing email. [via AOTUS blog, NARA]
- A 500 year old map that helpd guide Columbus reveals hidden text using multispectral imaging. [via MapLab, Wired]
- A now you know - Images from the 1970s of tree-planters who were hired by logging companies to replant trees on the large portions of land left bare by clear cutting forestry operations. [via Cool Hunting]
- Get to know the Civil War by taking the MOOC "The Civil War and Reconstruction" taught by Pulitzer-prize winning historian, Eric Foner. [via Open Culture]