Exhibits Modernization Program Established




Date: 1948


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In 1948, a Sub-Committee on Exhibits Modernization produced a report outlining a program to update the exhibitions in the United States National Museum. The committee was led by Frank A. Taylor, Chairman, with Frank M. Setzler, Ellsworth Payne Killip, Waldo LaSalle Schmitt, C. Lewis Gazin, Charles Carey, and John A. Pope. With support from Congressional appropriations, from 1953 to 1964 most exhibits in the USNM were refurbished, using new exhibit techniques. The halls included Fossil Plants and Invertebrates, Fossil Fishes and Amphibians, Prehistoric Mammals, Gems and Minerals, Jade Room, Latin American Archeology, North American Archeology, Native Peoples of the Americas, Indian and Eskimo Arts and Customs, The World of Mammals, North American Mammals, Birds of the World, Life in Early America, Gowns of the First Ladies, Textile Machinery and Fibers, Textile Processing, Power Machinery, Farm Machinery, Printing Arts, Military History, Numismatics, Hall of Health, and History of Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmacy. The exhibits of the National Air Museum were also renovated.


  • Gazin, C. Lewis (Charles Lewis)
  • Pope, John Alexander 1906-
  • Schmitt, Waldo L (Waldo Lasalle) 1887-1977
  • Setzler, Frank M (Frank Maryl) 1902-1975
  • Taylor, Frank A (Frank Augustus) 1903-2007
  • Exhibits Modernization Program United States National Museum
  • United States National Museum
  • National Museum of Natural History (U.S.)
  • National Museum of History and Technology (U.S.)
  • National Museum of American History (U.S.) (NMAH)
  • National Air and Space Museum
  • National Air Museum (U.S.)
  • National Museum of History and Technology. (U.S.) Farm Machinery Hall
  • Hall of Gems and Minerals (Exhibition) (1958: United States National Museum)
  • Hall of Everyday Life in Early America (Exhibition) (1957: Washington, D.C.)
  • Hall of Power Machinery, The (Exhibition) (1957: United States National Museum)
  • Highlights of Latin American Archeology (Exhibition) (1954: Washington, D.C.)
  • Hall of the World of Mammals (Exhibition)
  • Hall of Monetary History and Medallic Art (Exhibition) (1961: United States National Museum)
  • North American Mammals (Exhibition)
  • Hall of North American Archeology (Exhibition) (1963: United States National Museum)
  • Hall of North American Indians (Exhibition)
  • Life in the Sea Hall (Exhibition) (1963: United States National Museum)
  • Military History Exhibition
  • Native Peoples of the Americas (Exhibition)
  • Hall of Printing Arts (Exhibition) (1950s: United States National Museum)
  • Hall of History of Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmacy (Exhibition) (1950s: United States National Museum)
  • Hall of Textile Machinery (Exhibition) (1957: United States National Museum)
  • Hall of Fossil Fishes and Amphibians (Exhibition) (1963: United States National Museum)
  • Hall of Prehistoric Mammals (Exhibition) (1950s: United States National Museum)
  • Birds of the World (Exhibition) (1956: United States National Museum)
  • Hall of Indian and Eskimo Arts and Customs (Exhibition) (1950s: United States National Museum)
  • Dinosaur Hall (Exhibition)
  • Jade Hall (Exhibition)
  • Hall of Health (Exhibition)


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Image captions: First Ladies Gowns Hall, 1955, negative mah-44606.jpg; How Tall Are You Exhibit, Hall of Health, 1957, negative 2002-10650.jpg; Hall of Gems and Minerals, 1958, negative mnh083a.jpg; Birds of the World Hall, 1956, negative mnh-43843b.jpg
  • "Secretary's Report," Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution, 1961, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1962, pp. 2-17.
  • Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 190, United States National Museum, Office of the Director, Records, circa 1921-1973, Series 21, Box 89.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu




  • Indian Arts and Crafts Exhibits
  • Openings
  • New Programs
  • Exhibitions
  • Museums
  • First Ladies Gowns


Washington (D.C.)

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