Soldier and Stallion at U.S. Cavalry Remount Station, circa 1930s, CRC oral history interviews, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Unlocking the History of the Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute

A piece of history makes its way to the Archives.

A couple of months ago, a few members of the Archives staff went out to the Smithsonian Conversation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Virginia, to collect some records that are being accessioned into our collections. One of the items we were given on this trip was a book detailing the facilities located on the property in Front Royal prior to it being used by the Smithsonian. The current site of SCBI was originally established as a United States Army Cavalry Remount Station, and was transferred to the United States Department of Agriculture in 1948. The book was maintained with the property and many of the facilities still existed when the Smithsonian began occupying the land in 1974. The book contains a page for each building constructed, and typically includes the building number and purpose, as well as detailed information about furnishings, additions, and the cost of repairs per year.

Since the book was amended and consulted frequently during the life of the Remount Station, it is not in the best condition. In addition to the pages being warped, there are a number of tears, and even a few instances of photos attached on top of other photos. The Archives Conservation Team is currently assessing the book and determing what preservation actions will be undertaken, so stay tuned to see how the book looks when they are finished! In the meantime, below are a few images of this important piece of history.

Building 15, Bachelor Officers Quarters. Photograph by University of Virginia Library, 2015. Accession 18-224, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Building 13, Feed Storage. A portion of a note on installations is missing from the bottom of the page. Photograph by University of Virginia Library, 2015. Accession 18-224, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Building 36, Farm Implement Shed. One photograph has been pasted on top of another. Photograph by University of Virginia Library, 2015. Accession 18-224, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Loose photograph of Building 47, Vet Research Laboratory. Photograph by University of Virginia Library, 2015. Accession 18-224, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Building 37, Colt Shed. A note on the page states that this building was salvaged in 1926. Photograph by University of Virginia Library, 2015. Accession 18-224, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

View of the United States Army Cavalry Remount Station book from the end. Major warping of the pages can be seen from this angle. Photograph by University of Virginia Library, 2015. Accession 18-224, Smithsonian Institution Archives.

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