Smithsonian Strikes Oil

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Article is an editorial which the author uses as a vehicle to criticize Smithsonian Secretary I. Michael Heyman for allowing "Corporate America" to have too much influence on the content of some Smithsonian exhibits. The author uses the Museum of American History's exhibit "Oil From the Arctic: Building the Trans-Alaska Pipeline" as the prime example in his argument. Paid for by the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, which built the Alaska oil pipeline, the exhibit opened in October 1997, contained only a short mention of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and was viewed by the author as a public relations effort to encourage the Alaska Congressional delegation to push for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The author ends by accusing Heyman of "turning the Smithsonian into an Epcot on the Potomac," and calls for him to be stopped before that occurs.


  • Heyman, Ira Michael 5/30/1930-11/19/2011
  • Oil From the Arctic: Building the Trans-Alaska Pipeline (Exhibition)
  • United States Congress
  • National Museum of History and Technology (U.S.)
  • National Museum of American History (U.S.) (NMAH)
  • Alyeska Pipeline Service Company


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography


Author is the editor of "Corporate Crime Reporter," a legal weekly based in Washington, D.C.

Contained within

The Nation Vol. 265, No. 18 (Journal)

Contact information

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


December 1, 1997


  • Museum finance
  • Environmental policy
  • Secretaries
  • Exhibitions
  • Gifts
  • Ecology
  • Petroleum industry
  • Petroleum pipelines
  • Environmental protection
  • Oil spills
  • Petroleum


  • Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (Alaska)
  • Alaska



Physical description

Pages 5-6

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