Agency history, 1972-

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  • Scott, Catherine D
  • Smith, Martin
  • Spencer, David M
  • Pietropaoli, Frank
  • Cottrill, Chris
  • Edwards, Philip D
  • Smith, Leah
  • Smithsonian Institution Libraries National Air and Space Museum Branch
  • Smithsonian Institution Libraries National Air and Space Museum Library
  • Smithsonian Libraries National Air and Space Museum Library
  • Smithsonian Libraries and Archives National Air and Space Museum Library
  • Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
  • Arts and Industries Building (Washington, D.C.)
  • Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences (U.S.)


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 Institution, "National Air and Space Museum Branch Library,", accessed May 23, 2000.
  • Smithsonian Libraries, National Air and Space Museum Library,, accessed September 1, 2021.
  • Smithsonian Libraries, National Air and Space Museum Library, via WaybackMachine,, accessed May 26, 2023
  • Email, "Smithsonian Libraries and Archives Executive Leadership Team Updates," September 23, 2022.
  • The National Air and Space Museum Library Research Center is one of twenty-one library research centers in the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives system. It supports the specialized research, exhibitions, and public programs of the National Air and Space Museum and other museums and offices within the Smithsonian. Its collection consists of books, serials, technical reports, government publications and microforms which support the research areas of aerospace, including aviation history; air transport and aviation (civil and military); astronomy; balloons and ballooning; flight material, including propulsion; geology: lunar, planetary, and terrestrial; remote sensing; rocket engine design; and space history, including spacecraft design and instrumentation.
  • The library evolved from the historical working collections of the museum and was organized into a library in 1972 in the Arts and Industries Building. Until then, it consisted largely of the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences' original gift and other institutional and individual donations. Collections were merged and efforts initiated to supplement this rich historical resource with current and restrospective materials. The organized collection was moved into the new National Air and Space Museum for the opening in 1976. In 2018 the library moved to the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia and reopened to researchers in 2019.
  • Originally established as the National Air and Space Museum Branch it was later known at the National Air and Space Museum Library. The library was part of Smithsonian Institution Libraries at the time of its creation and then later part of Smithsonian Libraries. In 2020, after the merger of the Smithsonian Libraries and the Smithsonian Institution Archives, it became part of Smithsonian Libraries and Archives. In 2022, Smithsonian Libraries and Archives renamed their libraries as library research centers.
  • Professional staff of the Library has included Catherine D. Scott, Librarian, 1972-1982; Frank Pietropaoli, Chief Librarian, 1982-1987; Martin Smith, Unit Manager and Chief Librarian, 1987-1990; David Spencer, Librarian, 1991-1998; Elaine Cline, Librarian, 1998- ; Chris Cottrill, Head Librarian; Philip D. Edwards, Reference Librarian; and Leah Smith, Reference Librarian.
  • 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


  • 1972
  • 1972-


  • Museum libraries
  • Aeronautics
  • Libraries
  • Museums
  • Librarians
  • Libraries and museums
  • Aeronautical museums


Mixed archival materials

Local number

SIA AH00148

Full Record

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