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Finding Aids to Oral Histories in the Smithsonian Institution Archives

Record Unit 9622

National Museum of Natural History

National Museum of Natural History 100th Anniversary Oral History Interviews, 2009-2011

Repository: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C. Contact us at osiaref@si.edu.
Creator: National Museum of Natural History
Title: National Museum of Natural History 100th Anniversary Oral History Interviews
Dates: 2009-2011
Quantity: 15 digital audio files; 42 digital video files
Collection: Record Unit 9622
Language of Materials: English
Summary:

As part of the celebration of the Centennial of the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), oral history interviews were conducted with museum staff members from an array of professions and subject areas, by Institutional History Division staff, American University students, and volunteers from 2009 to 2011 and 2010. Interviewees were nominated by NMNH staff and the project was coordinated by Heather P. Ewing. Interviews were recorded in digital audio and digital video.

National Museum of Natural History interviewees include Andre R. Bell, Protection Services, NMNH; Audrey Butler, Food Services; Alan H. Cheetham, Curator of Paleobiology; R. "Chip" Clark, museum photographer; Roy S. Clarke, Jr., Curator of Meteorites; Donald Davis, Curator of Entomology; Elizabeth Dietrich, Supervisory Museum Specialist, Museum Support Center; Nathan Erwin, manager, Insect Zoo; Frank M. Greenwell, taxidermist; Kristofer M. Helgen, Curator of Mammals; Gary F. Hevel, Museum Specialist, Department of Entomology; David Hunt, Museum Specialist, Department of Anthropology; James J. Krakker, Museum Specialist, Department of Anthropology; Storrs L. Olson, Curator of Birds; David L. Pawson, Curator of Invertebrate Zoology; Paul W. Pohwat, Museum Specialist, Department of Mineral Sciences; Paul D. Rhymer, exhibits specialist; Mary E. Rice, director Emeritus, Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce; George F. "Rusty" Russell, Supervisory Museum Specialist, Department of Botany; and George Venable, scientific illustrator, Department of Entomology.

Interviewers included Inci Bowman, Lauren Dare, Pamela M. Henson, Emma Lang, John Minks, James Nelson, Cigdem Pakel, Courtney Shaw, William Stapleton, Bridget Sullivan, Mary A. Thomas and Mark White.

Historical Note

National Museum of Natural History interviewees include Andre R. Bell, Protection Services, NMNH; Audrey Butler, Food Services; Alan H. Cheetham, Curator of Paleobiology; R. "Chip" Clark, museum photographer; Roy S. Clarke, Jr., Curator of Meteorites; Donald Davis, Curator of Entomology; Elizabeth Dietrich, Supervisory Museum Specialist, Museum Support Center; Leon Dixon, Locksmith Foreman; Nathan Erwin, manager, Insect Zoo; Frank M. Greenwell, taxidermist; Kristofer M. Helgen, Curator of Mammals; Gary F. Hevel, Museum Specialist, Department of Entomology; David Hunt, Museum Specialist, Department of Anthropology; James J. Krakker, Museum Specialist, Department of Anthropology; Storrs L. Olson, Curator of Birds; David L. Pawson, Curator of Invertebrate Zoology; Paul W. Pohwat, Museum Specialist, Department of Mineral Sciences; Paul D. Rhymer, exhibits specialist; Mary E. Rice, director Emeritus, Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce; Martha Rosen, Natural History Branch Librarian for Smithsonian Institution Libraries; George F. "Rusty" Russell, Supervisory Museum Specialist, Department of Botany; and George Venable, scientific illustrator, Department of Entomology.

Interviewers included Inci Bowman, Mignon Davis, and Mark White from NMNH, Lauren Dare and Pamela M. Henson from Smithsonian Institution Archives, Emma Lang, John Minks, James Nelson, Cigdem Pakel, William Stapleton, and Bridget Sullivan from American University, and Courtney Shaw and Mary A. Thomas from Smithsonian Institution Libraries.

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Introduction

The Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA) began its Oral History Program in 1973. The purpose of the program is to supplement the written documentation of the Archives' record and manuscript collections with an Oral History Collection, focusing on the history of the Institution, research by its scholars, and contributions of its staff. Program staff conduct interviews with current and retired Smithsonian staff and others who have made significant contributions to the Institution. There are also reminiscences and interviews recorded by researchers or students on topics related to the history of the Smithsonian or the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.

As part of the celebration of the Centennial of the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), oral history interviews were conducted with museum staff members from an array of professions and subject areas, by SIA Institutional History Division staff, American University students, and volunteers from 2009 to 2011. Interviewees were nominated by NMNH staff and the project was coordinated by Heather P. Ewing. Interviews were recorded in digital audio and digital video, and deposited in the Smithsonian Institution Archives Oral History Collection.

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Descriptive Entry

These interviews discuss their careers at the NMNH, work with collections, research, scientific illustration, exhibits, taxidermy, museum security, interaction with the public and staff. The NMNH Centennial Interviews consist of c. 38.75 hours of interview with 21.25 hours of digital audio recordings, 17.5 hours of digital video recordings, and c. 500 pages of transcript.

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Access Restriction

Some of these interviews are restricted. The Andre Bell, Roy S. Clarke, Jr., Kristofer M. Helgen, Storrs L. Olson, Paul W. Pohwat, Paul D. Rhymer, and Mary E. Rice interviews cannot be used without their permission prior to 2050. The Leon Dixon, Donald Davis, David L. Pawson, and Martha Rosen interview transcripts cannot be used without their permission. The George Venable recording cannot be used without permission. The Audrey Butler, Alan Cheetham, Chip Clark, Elizabeth Dietrich, Nathan Erwin, Frank Greenwell, Gary Hevel, David Hunt, James Krakker, and Rusty Russell interviews are unrestricted. Contact SIHistory@si.edu to request permission.

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This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.

Name

Subject

Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection

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Preferred Citation

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9622, National Museum of Natural History 100th Anniversary Oral History Interviews

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Container List

Interviews

Interview 1: October 6, 2009

Interviews

Interview of Frank M. Greenwell by Cigdem Pakel of American University discusses his career as a taxidermist and field collector for the NMNH.

Interviews

Transcript, pp. 1-90, of digital audio recording, 3.0 hours.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 3.0 hours

Interviews
Original Masters: 2 digital audio .wav files
Reference Copies: 2 digital audio .mp3 files

Interview 2: October 15, 2009

Interviews

Interview of Gary F. Hevel by James Nelson of American University covers his career as a Museum Specialist in the Department of Entomology at the NMNH.

Interviews

Transcript, pp. 1-35, of digital audio recording, 1.5 hours.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 1.5 hours

Interviews
Original Masters: 1 digital audio .wav file
Reference Copies: 1 digital audio .mp3 file

Interview 3: October 21, 2009

Interviews

Interview of "Chip" Clark by John Minks of American University focuses on his career as a photographer for the NMNH, including field shoots, object and exhibit photography.

Interviews

Transcript, pp. 1-26, of digital audio recording, 1.5 hours.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 1.5 hours

Interviews
Original Masters: 3 digital audio .wav files
Reference Copies: 3 digital audio .mp3 files

Interview 4: October 22, 2009

Interviews

Interview of George F. "Rusty" Russell by James Nelson of American University discusses his career as a Museum Specialist in the Department of Botany at the NMNH.

Interviews

Transcript, pp. 1-24, of digital audio recording, 1.0 hour.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 1.0 hour

Interviews
Original Masters: 1 digital audio .wav file
Reference Copies: 1 digital audio .mp3 file

Interview 5: November 3, 2009

Interviews

Interview of Nathan Erwin by William Stapleton of American University discusses his career as a entomologist, focusing on his role as manager of the NMNH Insect Zoo.

Interviews

Transcript, pp. 1-30, of digital audio recording, 1.0 hour.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 1.0 hour

Interviews
Original Masters: 1 digital audio .wav file
Reference Copies: 1 digital audio .mp3 file

Interview 6: November 5, 2009

Interviews

Interview of Paul D. Rhymer by Cigdem Pakel of American University covers his work as an exhibit specialist for the NMNH and his career as an artist.

Interviews

Transcript, pp. 1-57, of digital audio recording, 1.5 hours.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 1.5 hours

Interviews
Original Masters: 1 digital audio .wav file
Reference Copies: 1 digital audio .mp3 file

Interview 7: December 15, 2009

Interviews

Interview of Andre R. Bell by Emma Lang of American University discusses his career as a Supervisory Security Officer in the Office of Protection Services, stationed in the NMNH.

Interviews

Transcript, pp. 1-29, of digital audio recording, 1.0 hour.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 1.0 hour

Interviews
Original Masters: 1 digital audio .wav file
Reference Copies: 1 digital audio .mp3 file

Interview 8: March 22, 2010

Interviews

Interview of Mary E. Rice by Pamela M. Henson of Smithsonian Institution Archives focuses on her early career in invertebrate zoology and as a Curator at the NMNH.

Interviews

Transcript, pp. 1-45, of digital audio recording, 1.5 hours.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 1.5 hours

Interviews
Original Masters: 1 digital audio .wav file
Reference Copies: 1 digital audio .mp3 file

Interview 9: March 22, 2010

Interviews

Transcript, pp. 1-40, of digital video recording, 1.5 hours.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 1.5 hours

Interviews
Original Masters: 2 digital video files
Reference Copies: 2 digital video .wmv files

Interview 10: March 23, 2010

Interviews

Interview of Mary E. Rice by Pamela M. Henson of Smithsonian Institution Archives discusses role at the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce and research on sipunculan worms.

Interviews

Transcript, pp. 1-56, of digital audio recording, 2.0 hours.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 2.0 hours

Interviews
Original Masters: 2 digital audio .wav files
Reference Copies: 2 digital audio .mp3 files

Interview 11: March 25, 2010

Interviews

Interview of George Venable by volunteer Inci Bowman of the NMNH discusses his career as an artist and scientific illustrator at the NMNH.

Interviews

Transcript, pp. 1-57, of digital video recording, 1.5 hours.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 1.5 hours

Interviews
Original Masters: 2 digital video files
Reference Copies: 2 digital video .wmv files

Interview 12: March 31, 2010

Interviews

Interview of Don Davis by volunteer Inci Bowman of the NMNH discusses his career as a Curator of Lepidoptera in the Department of Entomology at the NMNH.

Interviews

Transcript, pp. 1-70, of digital video recording, 2.0 hours.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 2.0 hours

Interviews
Original Masters: 2 digital video files
Reference Copies: 2 digital video .wmv files

Interview 13: April 6, 2010

Interviews

Interview of David L. Pawson by volunteer Inci Bowman of the NMNH discusses his career as a Curator of Marine Invertebrates in the Department of Invertebrate Zoology at the NMNH.

Interviews

Transcript, pp. 1-68, of digital video recording, 2.0 hours.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 2.0 hours

Interviews
Original Masters: 6 digital video files
Reference Copies: 6 digital video .wmv files

Interview 14: April 8, 2010

Interviews

Interview of David L. Pawson by volunteer Inci Bowman of the NMNH discusses his career as a Curator of Marine Invertebrates in the Department of Invertebrate Zoology at the NMNH and his research on his predecessor, Austin Hobart Clark.

Interviews

Transcript, pp. 1-34, of digital video recording, 1.0 hour.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 1.0 hours

Interviews
Original Masters: 1 digital video file
Reference Copies: 1 digital video .wmv file

Interview 15: May 14, 2010

Interviews

Interview of Audrey Butler by Mark White of NMNH covers her career with the NMNH cafeteria, interactions with the public and staff, and changes over time.

Interviews

Transcript, pp. 1-70, of digital video recording, 1.0 hour.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 1.0 hours

Interviews
Original Masters: 2 digital video files
Reference Copies: 2 digital video .wmv files

Interview 16: May 21, 2010

Interviews

Interview of Elizabeth Dietrich by Mark White of NMNH focuses on her role as a Museum Specialist and manager at the NMNH's Museum Support Center and her role in coordinating the move of collections from NMNH to MSC.

Interviews

Transcript, pp. 1-70, of digital video recording, 2.0 hours.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 2.0 hours

Interviews
Original Masters: 2 digital video files
Reference Copies: 2 digital video .wmv files

Interview 17: May 27, 2010

Interviews

Interview of Chip Clark by intern Lauren Dare of Smithsonian Institution Archives complemented interview 3 with a video session in which he discussed his work as a photographer and reviewed many of his images.

Interviews

Transcript, pp. 1-21, of digital video recording, 1.0 hours.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 1.0 hour

Interviews
Original Masters: 4 digital video files
Reference Copies: 4 digital video .wmv files

Interview 18: August 14, 2010

Interviews

Interview of Alan H. Cheetham by Courtney Shaw of Smithsonian Institution Libraries discusses his career as Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology in the Department of Paleobiology at the NMNH.

Interviews

Transcript, pp. 1-35, of digital video recording, 1.5 hours.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 1.0 hours

Interviews
Original Masters: 1 analog audio cassette
Reference Copies: 1 analog audio cassette

Interview 19: August 18, 2011

Interviews

Reminiscences of Alan H. Cheetham were recorded by him and sent to SI Archives.

Interviews

Draft transcript available, of digital audio recording, 1.0 hours.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 1.0 hour

Interviews
Original Masters: 2 digital video files
Reference Copies: 2 digital video .wmv files

Interview 20: August 17, 2010

Interviews

Transcript, pp. 1-21, of digital video recording, 1.0 hour.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 1.0 hour

Interviews
Original Masters: 5 digital video files
Reference Copies: 5 digital video .wmv files

Interview 21: September 7, 2010

Interviews

Interview of Roy S. Clarke, Jr., by Pamela M. Henson of Smithsonian Institution Archives was conducted in the Meteorite Storage Room and focuses on significant meteorites in the Department of Mineral Sciences collection at the NMNH.

Interviews

Transcript, pp. 1-25, of digital video recording, 1.0 hour.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 1.5 hours

Interviews
Original Masters: 1 digital audio .wav file
Reference Copies: 1 digital audio .mp3 file

Interview 22: October 12, 2010

Interviews

Interview of David Hunt by Bridget Sullivan of American University discusses his career as a Museum Specialist in physical anthropology, focusing especially on forensic work, in the Department of Anthropology at the NMNH.

Interviews

Transcript, pp. 1-40, of digital audio recording, 1.5 hours.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 1.25 hours

Interviews
Original Masters: 1 digital audio .wav file
Reference Copies: 1 digital audio .mp3 file

Interview 23: November 22, 2010

Interviews

Interview of James J. Krakker by Bridget Sullivan of American University discusses his career as a Museum Specialist working with archeological collections in the Department of Anthropology at the NMNH.

Interviews

Transcript, pp. 1-29, of digital audio recording, 1.25 hours.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 1.5 hours

Interviews
Original Masters: 7 digital video files
Reference Copies: 7 digital video .wmv files

Interview 24: March 16, 2011

Interviews

Interview of Storrs L. Olson by Mary Augusta Thomas of Smithsonian Institution Library covers his career as a Curator of Birds in the Department of Zoology at the NMNH.

Interviews

Transcript, pp. 1-35, of digital video recording, 1.5 hours.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 0.25 hour

Interviews
Original Masters: 1 digital video file
Reference Copies: 1 digital video .wmv file

Interview 25: June 29, 2010

Interviews

Interview of Paul W. Pohwat discusses his career as a Museum Specialist in the Department of Mineral Sciences at the NMNH.

Interviews

No transcript of digital video recording, 0.25 hour.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 0.25 hour

Interviews
Original Masters: 2 digital video files
Reference Copies: 2 digital video .wmv files

Interview 26: June 29, 2010

Interviews

Interview of Kristofer M. Helgen discusses his career as a Curator of Mammals in the Department of Zoology at the NMNH.

Interviews

No transcript of digital video recording, 0.25 hours.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 1.0 hour

Interviews
Original Masters: 4 digital audio .wav file
Reference Copies: 4 digital audio .mp3 file

Interview 27: July 19, 2011

Interviews

Draft transcript of digital audio recording, 1.0 hour.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 00:57 hours

Interviews
Original Masters: 1 digital audio .wav file
Reference Copies: 1 digital audio .mp3 file

Interview 28: July 28, 2011

Interviews

Interview of Martha Rosen by Inci Bowman continues her reminiscences of her career as a librarian at the National Museum of Natural History.

Interviews

Draft transcript of digital audio recording, 1.1 hours.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 1:08 hours

Interviews
Original Masters: 1 digital audio .wav file
Reference Copies: 1 digital audio .mp3 file

Interview 29: September 27, 2011

Interviews

Interview of Leon Dixon by Mark White covers his childhood in Washington, career in the military, and outside interests.

Interviews

Draft transcript of digital audio recording, 1.0 hour.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 1:07 hours

Interviews
Original Masters: 1 digital audio .wav file
Reference Copies: 1 digital audio .mp3 file

Interview 30: September 28, 2011

Interviews

Interview of Leon Dixon by Mark White covers his childhood in Washington, career in the military, and outside interests.

Interviews

Draft transcript of digital audio recording, 1.0 hour.

Interviews

Recording of Interview: Total recording time: 1.0 hours

Interviews
Original Masters: 1 digital video file
Reference Copies: 1 digital video .wmv file