When asked what the Smithsonian Institution Archives collects, we say we hold records about the history of the Smithsonian and its people, programs, research, and activities. While accurate, this doesn't really give anyone a clue about what is actually in those records.
The Smithsonian Institution Archives Reference Team handles an average of around 6,000 queries per year, and if you ask us what people have been researching at the Archives recently, you'll get some pretty interesting responses. Although not comprehensive, here's a snapshot of the diverse range of information encompassed by the history of the world's largest museum complex!
Over the past three months, researcher queries have included:
- Smithsonian taxidermists
- Smokey the Bear
- Tropical botany in southeast Asia and the Pacific
- The Smithsonian Gallery of Art design competition
- The Tunguska meteorite
- Mary Henry diaries
- Alexander Von Humboldt
- The cultural history of the dingo
- Russian fur trade
- The Enola Gay exhibit
- Smithsonian Office of International Relations
- Latino scientists
- 20th century small arms
- The Davenport Tablets
- Access and interpretation in museum gardens.
Permissions to upcoming publications using our photos or documents include:
- Wouter Montfrooij, Astronomy! A conceptual introduction from the Big Bang…
- Anthony Burton, The Locomotive Pioneers, 1801-1851
- Norton & Co. for Glenda Gilmore's These United States
- Edward R. Landa, Assessment of Atmospheric Sulfate Deposition and its Historical Roots in Soil Science
- Left/Right Productions, The History Channel's Search for Lost Giants
- Michael G. Littman, Journal of the Washington Academy of Science
- The Avemco Insurance Co., for its digital newsletter On Approach
- Penguin Books, No Way, Way Road Trip!
- Reference services at the Smithsonian Institution Archives