Agency history, 1975-

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  • DeVorkin, David H. 1944-
  • Durant, Frederick C. 1916-
  • Hanle, Paul A
  • Needell, Allan A
  • Tatarewicz, Joseph N
  • Sharp, James H
  • Herken, Gregg 1947-
  • Smith, Robert W (Robert William) 1952-
  • National Air and Space Museum (U.S.) Department of Space Science and Exploration
  • National Air and Space Museum (U.S.) Department of Space History
  • National Air and Space Museum (U.S.) Department of Astronautics
  • National Air Museum (U.S.) Dept. of Astronautics


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.
  • Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Department of Space History [http://www/], 01/21/00
  • Guide to the Smithsonian Archives, 1996
  • The Division of Space History is a focal point for the space-related historical research, collecting and exhibit work of the National Air and Space Museum (NASM). Curators and historians within the department write, lecture, collect artifacts, and prepare exhibitions in the following fields: rocketry, computers and avionics, human spaceflight, satellites and commercial spacecraft, military space, ground- and space-based astronomy, and foreign space programs. The department's Oral History Project documents through interviews the recollections of leading scientists, engineers, managers and political figures involved in the nation's space program.
  • Frederick C. Durant III joined NASM as Assistant Director (Astronautics) in 1965. In 1975, his title was changed to Chairman, Department of Astronautics. He served until 1980, when he left the Museum. Paul Hanle became Acting Chairman and the Department of Astronautics was renamed the Department of Space Science and Exploration. Hanle served as Chairman 1981-1985, replaced by David H. DeVorkin, who served as Chairman through 1986. In 1987, the department was renamed the Department of Space History and Joseph N. Tatarewicz served as Acting Chairman, followed by James H. Sharp. In 1988, Gregg F. Herken became Chairman and served 1988-1996. Robert Smith was Chairman from 1997-1999, and Allan Needell was Acting Chairman 1999- .
  • The Department of Space History was reorganized around 1997 and renamed the Division of Space History, part of the Collections and Research Department.
  • For a history of the larger creating unit, refer to "Forms part of above."

Repository Loc.

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




  • Aeronautics
  • Exploration
  • Museums
  • Aeronautical museums


Outer space


Mixed archival materials

Local number

SIA AH00129

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