• Zisfein, Melvin B
  • Crawford, Richard
  • Baby, Francis A
  • Nelms, Frank A
  • Bedno, Edward
  • Makovenyi, Nadya A
  • Torres, Francisco
  • Jacobs, Jake
  • Brennan, Barbara
  • National Air and Space Museum (U.S.) Exhibits Division
  • National Air and Space Museum (U.S.) Division of Exhibits and Public Spaces
  • National Air and Space Museum (U.S.) Exhibits Department
  • National Air and Space Museum (U.S.) Exhibits and Presentation Division
  • National Air and Space Museum (U.S.) Exhibits and Public Services Department


Agency History


  • This is an agency history. It does not describe actual records. The Smithsonian Institution Archives uses these histories as brief accounts of the origin, development, and functions of an office or administrative unit to set that unit in its historical context. To find information on record holdings, please double-click the highlighted field "Creator/Author", which will open on a brief view of relevant records.
  • Guide to the Smithsonian Archives, 1996
  • Smithsonian Institution, "National Air and Space Museum," [], February 14, 2002
  • E-mail from Beatrice Mowry to Mitch Toda, December 10, 2021
  • The Exhibits Division was created in 1974. In 1980 the Exhibits and Presentation Divison was formed. From 1985 to 1992 the unit was called the Division of Exhibits and Public Spaces; then the Exhibits Department, 1992-1997; then the Exhibits and Public Services Department, 1998-2001; and then the Exhibitions Division, 2002- .
  • The Exhibitions Division consists of the Exhibits Design Division, the Exhibits Production Division, and the Project Management Division. The Exhibits Design Division is responsible for the physical and visual elements of exhibitions, incluing graphics, structural design elements, lighting and electrical design, and audiovisual production. The Exhibits Production Division is responsible for the contruction, installation, and maintainence of exhibits including the cleaning of artifacts on display, the fabrication of artifact mounts, model making, and the preparation of mannequins. The Project Management Division is responsible for the overall budget, the exhibit schedule, and for coordinating staff to complete museum exhibits.
  • Professional staff of the unit have included Francis A. Baby, Chief, 1974-1978. Frank A. Nelms was Acting Chief, 1978, followed by Melvin B. Zisfein in 1979 and Richard D. Crawford, 1980, both as acting. Edward Bedno became Chief in 1981, followed by Crawford, 1982-1983. Later that year Nadya A. Makovenyi became Chief of Exhibits, 1983-1984, then Assistant Director for Exhibits and Public Spaces from 1985 to 1992. She became Associate Director for the new Exhibits Department, 1992-1993, and of the Department of Exhibits and Public Services, 1994-2002. After 2002 the position of Director of the Division as abolished for a system of rotating Chairs was initiated. Beatrice Mowry was Chair from 2003-2007; followed by Jake Jacobs, 2007-2011; and then by Barbara Brennan, 2011-2014. In 2014 the position of Assistant Director of the Exhibition Division was established and Francisco Torres began his tenure as Assistant Director.

Repository Loc.

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Capital Gallery, Suite 3000, MRC 507; 600 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20024-2520


  • 1974
  • 1974-


  • Airplanes
  • Aeronautics
  • Museums
  • Space flight
  • Aeronautical museums
  • Museum exhibits
  • Space vehicles


Mixed archival materials

Local number

SIA AH00119

Full Record

View Full Record