It’s National Camping Month—and to help celebrate, we’ve pulled together some of our images of collecting scientists out in the field. While modern campers have engineered waterproof clothing and sleeping bags, GPS and cell phones for navigation and communication, and all-terrain vehicles for getting where they want to go, for most of the Smithsonian’s 175-year history, field scientists relied on much more basic technology. I’ve been struck by descriptions of camps and accommodations as I have helped write project descriptions for the Smithsonian Transcription Center. I’m not much of a camper myself, but I am amazed by the dedication of these early Smithsonian scientists! From folks roughing it in rural Mexico and China to glamping around a dining table in the Canadian Rockies, our scientists and their records have seen it all.
Edward William Nelson and Edward Alphonso Goldman Collection, circa 1873-1946 and undated, Record Unit 7364, Smithsonian Institution Archives