The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Posts tagged with: Education
- A sound for sore ears, the Library of Congress unveiled their National Recording Preservation Plan, a framework for saving America's recorded sound heritage for future generations. [via Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig, SIA]
- Twitter and scholarly research? A new tool being developed at George Washington University Libraries allows social media researchers to gather data from Twitter. [via InfoDocket]
- All is not lost, Operation Photo Rescue was recently in New York City to help people restore photographs that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. [via Marcel LaFollete, SIA]
- The British Library recently announced the digitization of some of its most important works in their collections. [via Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig, SIA]
- With the London 2012 Summer Olympics a distant memory, and with the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on the horizon, photographer David Burnett shares some of his decidley unique images of the games that he took with a 1940s Speed Graphic camera and a 1943 Aerial reconnaissance lens. [via PetaPixel]
- Bringing museum collections, children, and a little mystery together, at the National Museum of American History the Tooth Fairy makes dental deposits. [via O say can you see?, NMAH]
- Are you getting overwhelmed by all of the digital information in your life? If so, check out the upcoming Personal Digital Archiving 2013 program at the University of Maryland, College Park. See video below. [via Effie Kapsalis, SIA]
- Beyoncé's performance at this weeks Presidential Inauguration will not be forgotten. Why? Because she keeps her own digital archive of her life and work of course. [via Jennifer Wright, SIA]
- Check your local listings. The Library of Congress, in collaboration with the American Library Association's Association for Library Collections and Technical Services and the Public Library Association, will develop a collection of digital literacy resources that will be accessible to libraries, patrons and other community-based organizations for personal digital archiving. [via The Signal: Digital Preservation, LOC]
- Former Wikipedian-in-Residence at SIA and the Archives of American Art, Sarah Stierch, will be taking on the role of US OpenGLAM Coordinator to work with GLAMs (galleries, libraries, archives, and museums) in the US to teach and inspire them to open their cultural holdings in a broader open license manner. [via Effie Kapsalis, SIA]
- In the recent publication, Science Education and Citizenship, author Sevan G. Terzian draws upon information and images from Record Unit 7091 - Science Service, Records, and examines the civic purposes of science fairs, clubs, and talent searches and their impact on youth over four decades in the early to mid-twentieth century. [via Ellen Alers, SIA]
- The Internet Archives' Wayback Machine now has 240,000,000,000 URLs, enabling users to search wesbites from late 1996 to December 9, 2012. [via Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig, SIA]
- The Civil War ushered in a variety of technological advances, but the Confederate Civil War helicopter thought up by William C. Powers failed to get off the ground. [via AirSpace, NASM]
- Petabytes of data, no problem . . . the Vatican Library and its work to digitize its rich and vast collections to make them accessible to everyone.
In reading over several of the oral history interviews in the Archives recently, I was struck at the important role that mentors can play in a young person's life – often changing the direction of that life completely. While some children decide to become an astronaut or a nurse in childhood, others don't see a clear road in front of them. Mentors have a different view of the young person than they have of themselves, and see potential that others may not. They offer advice, encouragement, and jobs that lead the young person down a path they would never have taken.
When I interviewed Dr. T. Dale Stewart (1901-1997), I was struck how John L. and Mary A. Baer influenced him. Stewart grew up in a small Pennsylvania town and embarked upon a bookkeeping career at the local bank. When family friend John Baer moved to Washington, DC, during World War I, he brought young Stewart to visit the big city. John Baer married Mary Arnold - Stewart’s primary and Sunday school teacher. The Baers encouraged Stewart to go to George Washington University while living with them. John Baer secured a job in the Division of Physical Anthropology at the Smithsonian's US National Museum. In 1924, Stewart filled in for Baer while he was on a Smithsonian expedition to Panama, but sadly, Baer died while on the trip, and Stewart now had a permanent job. With encouragement from Mrs. Baer, he completed college and medical school, becoming the "head curator" of physical anthropology and one of the worlds most noted physical anthropologists.
Frank A. Taylor (1903-2007) grew up in Washington, DC, where his father owned a pharmacy on Capitol Hill. Young Taylor and friends often passed the US National Museum on their way down to the Tidal Basin to swim or fish. But he never set foot inside the dreary looking place or imagined himself curating a collection, so how did he acquire the nickname "Mr. Museum"? When he graduated from high school, Taylor apprenticed in the construction industry. However, one of his teachers had insisted that students take the mechanical drawing civil service exam in order to pass the course, to gain experience taking professional exams. Taylor did so well on the exam that he was offered an entry level position at the Smithsonian, but that was all he needed to launch his career. Taylor received a bachelors degree in engineering, became curator of history of technology, head curator of the Department of History of Technology and then "Director General of Museums."
Sammy Ray (1919- ) grew up in rural Mississippi. He liked to hunt and learned a bit of taxidermy from a local birder George Vaiden. He recalled, "In the summer of my junior year in high school, I was offered a job as a postal clerk for sixty dollars a month. My parents wanted me to take it because, at that time sixty dollars a month was pretty good change, but I would have to leave school." Ray went to see his mentor Mr. Vaiden, who said, "Sammy, if you don't finish high school, you'll make the greatest mistake of your life." Vaiden hired Ray to do taxidermy, if he stayed in school, and then encouraged him to attend a local college. He introduced Ray to other naturalists, including Alexander Wetmore, Secretary of the Smithsonian. While serving in the Pacific during World War II, Ray collected birds for the US National Museum, corresponding regularly with Dr. Wetmore. At the close of the war, he went to graduate school and is still professor emeritus of marine biology at Texas A&M University in Galveston.
In each of these cases, an older person, outside of the family, opened doors for a talented young person – once opened, they studied and worked hard to succeed, but would never have gone in that direction without the mentor. Who do you see around you that has potential they might not be aware of? A bit of encouragement from you could make a huge difference in a young person’s life.
- When Time and Duty Permit: Collecting During World War II, exhibition, National Museum of Natural History
- War Correspondents, The Bigger Picture Blog, Smithsonian Institution Archives
Blogs across the Smithsonian will give an inside look at the Institution’s archival collections and practices during a month long blogathon in celebration of October’s American Archives Month. See additional posts from our other participating blogs, as well as related events and resources, on the Smithsonian’s Archives Month website.
These images have been collected over time at the Archives for our informal "Gallery of Horrors," for the education of our staff, interns and colleagues, and now you! These pictures do not express all the terrible things that happen to archival materials, but really represent a sampling and smattering, dare we say splattering, of Bad Things that Happen to Good Archives. While the subject is presented in a light tone for Halloween 2012, we aim to seriously educate and amaze with up-close shots of damages done by the natural Enemies of Books, including people. We're not necessarily happy to say that we know this set will be added to over time, but hope most of that will come from our previously assembled study collection and not from new victims!
An upcoming post by Smithsonian Institution Archives conservation technician, Janelle Batkin-Hall, will focus on a particular group of archival materials that when in conjunction with inappropriate attachment methods and the passage of time, have sustained significant damage. Through the use of photographic documentation and a highlight of beneficial storage practices, this blog will provide examples of the adverse affects "bad things" have on archival materials AND good intentions.
- Taking care of your objects, Museum Conservation Institute
- Panoramic Panic! A Sticky Situation, Part 1, The Bigger Picture Blog, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Should I laminate an old document, like a photo or birth certificate?, Collections Care Forum, Smithsonian Institution Archives