Before the age of YouTube and Instagram, public audiences learned about the happenings at the Smithsonian in newspapers, on the radio, and via public television stations. Between 1982 and 1989, TV viewers could catch up with the Smithsonian’s latest exhibitions and research activities through short video features in a series called Here at The Smithsonian.
In our first video this month, we hear the gendered notion that staff in the Smithsonian Exhibits Model Shop were “guys that never got away from model railroads and girls that never got away from dollhouses.” Lucky for us, that clip also includes an interview with women model makers like Lora Moran, who shares her expertise and dispels this antiquated notion of model making and highlights the expertise of women at the Smithsonian. In a behind-the-scenes look at the model shop, Moran discusses her work and the necessary detail and research needed to create a model that enhances the visitor experience at the Smithsonian.
The series also highlighted women artists not just on staff. In 1983, television audiences were welcomed to watch Grammy award-winning folk musician Cathy Fink show off the collection of folk instruments at the National Museum of American History. As Fink performed a demonstration to an engaged audience, we see how her skills enliven the museum collections and create a memorable experience for visitors.
Tune in on the last Tuesday of each month to explore more video features from Here at the Smithsonian. Interested in more? Head to our YouTube playlist of recently-uploaded clips from the series.
- Office of Telecommunications Productions, 1982-1989, Accession 00-132, Smithsonian Institution Archives