The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Posts tagged with: slideshow
On July 15, 1971, President Richard Nixon announced that he would travel to the People’s Republic of China in an effort to improve diplomatic relations with the previously unrecognized government, the most adorable result of which was the gifting of giant pandas Hsing-Hsing and Ling-Ling to the National Zoological Park. We’ve told this tale before in The Bigger Picture blog post "Panda-monium!" but have prepared a slide show of the events surrounding their arrival as well as a few pictures of the cubs settling in to their new digs. See below to check out First Lady Patricia Nixon welcoming the pandas to their new home, visiting Chinese zoologists touring Smithsonian museums, and of course the stars of the show, Hsing-Hsing and Ling-Ling being their precious panda selves.
- Panda-monium!, The Bigger Picture blog, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Accession 11-009 - Smithsonian Photographic Services, Photographic Collection, 1971-2006, Smithsonian Institution Archives
It is the season of 90 degree days, the Folklife Festival, ice cream trucks, and the sound of the Smithsonian carousel playing its fun house music in the distance. As someone who has to commute to and from work by bicycle through the legions of tourist buses, crowds of umbrellas, and FBI paraphernalia, I try to replace my slight annoyance in being delayed by remembering that many memories are being made right before my eyes. This Flickr Set brings that to life for me. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Today we honor our military veterans, those who have served and those still serving, those we have lost and those still missing. To our heroes past and present we extend our gratitude for your service, bravery, and strength. In recognition of Veterans Day, we would like to share with you this selection of images taken during the weekend of the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC in November 1982.
If you happen to follow the Smithsonian’s Flickr Commons stream very closely, you may have noticed that two new sets of photos were uploaded last week: a set from thePacific Ocean Biological Survey Program, as well as a set of Field Book Lantern Slides.
While the name may sound dry, the biological survey photos, as you can see above, are full of strikingly beautiful gems—abstract patterns of frigates fluttering across the horizon off the coast of the Phoenix Islands, and elegantly curved bird profiles. The photos document a biological survey of plants and animals of the Pacific completed by Smithsonian employees during the 1960s and 70s.
And the Field Book Lantern slides above are a series of image slides used by researchers to present their work to colleagues and the general public. They include some especially colorful slides documenting the Smithsonian-Roosevelt African Expedition 1909 (and the “specimens” they collected), as well as an incredible series of early 20th century slides of the preparation and installation of dinosaur specimens and other mammals from the Smithsonian’s Division of Vertebrate Paleontology.
Both sets of photos come from our collections at the Archives, and are a part of the the Field Book Project—a joint venture of the National Museum of Natural History and us, the Smithsonian Institution Archives—to create one online location for scholars and others to search for field books and other field research materials. Summer interns for the Field Book Project curated both sets and write in detail about their content on the Field Book Blog. Read more in their post, “On Land and at Sea: Two Intern Flickr Sets on The Commons.” You can follow the progress of the project on the Field Book blog.
On June 14, 1777 the Continental Congress adopted the stars and stripes as the national flag and on the same day one hundred years later, the first observance of the Flag was held. However, it was not celebrated again on such a scale until 1916, in the midst of World War I, when President Woodrow Wilson pronounced the day Flag Day. Though not officially adopted by Congress as a national holiday until 1949, on June 14, 1916 the Smithsonian’s staff and other government employees enjoyed an early release and headed out to the National Mall to celebrate Flag Day. Each participant, for a cost of 10 cents, received a small American flag and ticket to the enclosure for the celebration. The event included a speech by President Woodrow Wilson, music courtesy of the Marine Corp Band, and flag ceremonies.
As historical artifacts and evidence of the past, flags have always been an important part of the Smithsonian. Some flags are celebrated through exhibition, such as the Star Spangled Banner, or through events such as the one described above. But some of the most intriguing flags or banners at the Smithsonian are the Institution’s own. Not only does the Institution have a flag; but the individual bureaus have banners too.
The bureau banners were designed in 1965 for the celebration of the bicentennial of James Smithson's birth. Each of the thirteen banners was blue with a gold fringe on the upper, lower, and right sides. The center of every one contained a gold sun burst with sixteen alternating straight and wavy rays representing the Smithsonian’s mission of the "increase and diffusion of knowledge." Each bureau had a unique design element in the upper left corner; for example, the National Zoo had an eagle, while the National Portrait Gallery had a silhouette. From lions to dinosaurs, these flags represented the diversity of the staff and the work done at the Smithsonian.
- 1 of 5
- next ›