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Programs & Staff

Programs and activities carried out by the staff of the Smithsonian Institution Archives are organized around core roles, responsibilities, and areas of expertise. Teams work together to provide seamless services to offices across the Institution and to the general public.

Programs include:


This group includes the Reference Team and the Archives and Information Management (AIM) Team. The reference team provides access to records held by the Archives to any visiting researchers, and responds to queries that come by phone, mail, or electronically. To contact the reference team, please send a request via the reference form.

The AIM team works with museums, research centers, and other units across the Smithsonian to identify and acquire official records that document the activities and research output of the organization. They determine what records have long-term historical value and therefore must be preserved, and they advise on what records may have only temporary value and can be discarded after they are no longer useful to a unit. For contact information see the AIM team Staff Directory. You can also consult the records management guidelines available on the web site.

Collections Care

This group of experts preserves paper, photographs, audio, and visual records held by the Archives. Other units across the Institution also rely on their shared laboratory facilities, special equipment, and professional expertise. Ensuring appropriate security and environmental control for housing archival collections, reformatting of materials as needed, and repairing artifacts that are in danger of becoming  unusable are all activities within their purview. To contact the Collections Care team, please send a question online.

Digital Services

This group addresses a full range of digital resource management issues. Staff provides professional leadership in the preservation of electronic records and continues to develop expertise in this area. The Web, New Media, & Outreach team in Digital Services uses technology to highlight the stories of the collections and provide broader access  to a wider audience.  To reach the Digital Services team, send a question online.

Institutional History

Historians in this group research the history of the Smithsonian for internal and external purposes. The history of the Institution reflects the history of science, technology, art, and culture, both nationally and internationally. Queries come from offices across the Institution, and from around the world. Historical research is also conducted in support of public programs, publications, and exhibitions. In addition, staff experts conduct oral and video histories that further document important figures and events in the history of the Institution. The research conducted by the staff is often used to tell important stories about the Smithsonian and help the public to gain a richer understanding of the role the institution has played in historical exploration, innovation, and discovery. To contact the Institutional History team, please send a query via the reference form