The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Posts tagged with: Archive
In 2017 the Anacostia Community Museum will be celebrating their 50th anniversary, having opened their doors to the public on September 15, 1967 in the Carver Theater on Martin Luther King Avenue in Southeast, Washington, DC. In June 1967, the Smithsonian appointed civil rights activist, educator, and minister, John R. Kinard as the director of the museum. Kinard was deeply interested in involving the youth of the area in developing the new museum. Smithsonian staff worked with local residents to convert the Carver Theater into an exhibition space, and to select objects for display. The theater was renamed the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum.
In April 1987, the museum changed its name to the Anacostia Museum to reflect the museum's increased efforts to examine, preserve, and interpret African American history and culture, not only locally and regionally, but nationally and internationally as well. In 1995, the museum was renamed Anacostia Museum and Center for African American History and Culture, and served as a planning site for the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, which was established in 2003. The museum then returned its focus to the life and history of communities east of the Anacostia River and was renamed the Anacostia Community Museum in 2006.
The current museum building, completed in 1987, is located in Fort Stanton Park and was designed by Keyes Condon Florance; Architrave; and Wisnewski Blair Associates.
- Anacostia Community Museum records at the Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Historic images of the Anacostia Community Museum from the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Note: In order to access these PDFs, you must have the Adobe Acrobat Reader software which is available free of charge.
In December there was a question that came in about who designed the star logo for the National Collection of Find Arts (now the Smithsonian American Art Museum). As I had featured the logo in one of my previous blog posts, the task of figuring out this nugget of Smithsonian history came to me. A quick search for "star" and "National Collection of Fine Arts" in our finding aids led me first to Record Unit 319: National Collection of Fine Arts, Publication Editor, Departmental Records, 1967-1970. In Box 1 there was a folder titled, "Star symbol, 1968". The folder sounded like a pretty solid lead and I went ahead and requested the box from our offsite storage facility.
With the folder in hand, I came across this memo from Georgia Rhoades, editor at the National Collection. Upon reading it a piece of the puzzle came in the form of "design received from Architectural Graphics Association, Inc." Could this be the answer? Unfortunately the folder held no further information about the design of the star logo. However, now armed with the possibility that "Architectural Graphics Association, Inc." was responsible for the design I had another search term to continue my hunt.
Searching our findings for "Architectural Graphics" opened up more collections to consult, not just one but four no less. In Record Unit 313, Box 76 there was the folder "Architectural Graphics Associates, 1964-1969;" from Record Unit 314, Box 22 there was the folder "Stationary Architectural Graphics, 1965-1970;" from Record Unit 318, Box 2 there was the folder "Architectural Graphics, 1967;" and from Record Unit 447, Box 13 there was the folder "NCFA Letterhead, Architectural Graphics, 1965-1968." After consulting these collections the answer was found; Jane Davis Doggett and Dorothy C. Jackson of Architectural Graphics Associates, Inc. of New Canaan, Connecticut were the designers behind the National Collection of Fine Arts (NCFA) star logo.
In speaking of the logo to Smithsonian Secretary S. Dillon Ripley, NCFA Director David W. Scott had the following to say:
I feel that the star suggests tradition and a national organization; and that the treatment of the star suggests an activity that is contemporary, dynamic and artistically concerned.
A the same time, the symbol is fresh, distinctive, and adaptable for a variety of treatments (banners, labels, letterheads, embossed invitations, etc.).
The star logo was the perfect way to usher in the NCFA's (and the National Portrait Gallery's) move into their new space at the old Patent Office Building and symbolic of a new era for the museum.
- Record Unit 313: National Collection of Fine Arts, Central Administrative File, 1908-1974, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Record Unit 314: National Collection of Fine Arts, Office of Exhibition and Design, Records, 1963-1973, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Record Unit 318: National Collection of Fine Arts, Consultant Designer Records, 1966-1969, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Record Unit 319: National Collection of Fine Arts, Publication Editor, Departmental Records, 1967-1970, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Record Unit 447: National Collection of Fine Arts, Office of Administration, Records, 1964-1980, Smithsonian Institution Archives
Amongst the Archives collections we have appoximately 50,000 pieces of audiovisual materials and counting. These analog audiovisual materials come in a variety of formats including 16mm and 35mm motion picture film; U-matic, betacam, and VHS videotapes; DATs; audiocassettes; 1/4" audiotape; and vinyl records. While we have some of the equipment necessary to view and listen to these formats, making them available more broadly to people requires us to digitize them. As a result, starting in earnest in the fall of 2008 the Archives began to digitize select audiovisual items from our collections. To date we have digitized over 1000 hours of audio and video. Below you will find a compilation of clips from some of the video represented in our collections; covering such topics as science, research, exhibitions, expeditions, and more at the Smithsonian.
In putting together these clips I came across one particular video that I wanted to share in its entirety. It is a video that was used in the exhibition, Information Age: People, Information and Technology, which was at the National Museum of American History from 1990-2006. This permanent exhibition chronicled the birth and growth of the electronic information age with a special focus on how information technology has changed the way people live and work. The video was unique at the time being displayed across 12 individual screens.
Accession 06-104: Office of Telecommunications, Productions, 1987-1996, Smithsonian Institution Archives
What a Groovy Idea! A Pan-Institutional Survey of Audiovisual Collections, The Bigger Picture blog, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- New to the interwebs: a massive archive of 150 years of photography capturing Russian life from more than 40 institutions and collections. [via Hyperallergic]
- Nominate your favorite .gov website for the U.S. Federal Government End of Term Web Archive! [via The Signal, Library of Congress]
- Why save a computer virus, indeed?! [via The Conversation]
- Giant pandas are no longer endangered
extinct! And the Smithsonian Zoo's biologists had a lot to do with that. [via Seeker]
- Some insight into what the new Smithsonian African American museum means to D.C. locals. [via City Lab]
- The Smithsonian’s 3-D Digitization Program and Teva made shoes for our arthritic elephant! [via Washington Post]
- A cook's delight: 3000 vintage cookbooks now available on the Internet Archive. [via Open Culture]
- A growing online archive of Vernacular Typography. [via Hyperallergic]
- 18th century toilets beget treasures! [via Huffington Post]
- Space travel plans? You can download the code that took America to the moon from GitHub. [via Quartz]
- Museums on my bucket list; Japan's museum for architectural models and New York's pop-up Museum of Ice Cream. [via Hyperallergic and NY Eater]
- Find yourself at the Louvre. [via NY Times]
- The history of scavenger hunts, pre-Pokémon Go. [via Smithsonian Magazine]
- Dreamy 1915 films of aging Degas, Rodin, Renoir, and Monet. [via Hyperallergic]
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