34 Total Pages 14 Contributing Members
If you visited the United States National Museum in 1893, what types of objects would you see on display? What would an exhibit hall look like? Find out for yourself with the Department of Prehistoric Anthropology curator’s annual report from 1893-94! Among other things, the report details how collection objects and photographs were displayed in the museum. Then, help transcribe this unique look into the history of the Smithsonian!
26 Total Pages 16 Contributing Members
Today, taking a school field trip to the Smithsonian is an experience kids across the country look forward to every year—the same was true over 120 years ago! See what school groups visited the Smithsonian (then the US National Museum) and got a tour from the Department of Prehistoric Anthropology’s curator in this annual report from 1894-95. Learn more about other tours and public programs the Smithsonian had planned for the year, and join in on transcribing this report!
85 Total Pages 18 Contributing Members
Did you know that, thousands of years ago, caverns formed in what is now central Ohio? These caverns—over 100 feet deep in parts—have crystal formations dating back to 200,000 years ago. The curator of the Smithsonian’s Department of Prehistoric Anthropology, Thomas Wilson, spent the Fourth of July, 1895 exploring those caverns. Read Wilson’s report of his cavern expedition, among other happenings from the department, in this set of curator’s notes from 1895-97.
55 Total Pages 10 Contributing Members
How do objects in the Smithsonian’s collection reflect academic scholarship during the time they were collected—or at present day? See how a scientist and collector interpreted items from the United States National Museum’s Department of Prehistoric Anthropology with this monthly curator’s report from 1891. Join other digital volunteers in transcribing this look into the Smithsonian’s historic collections!
23 Total Pages 9 Contributing Members
Did you know that the Smithsonian has crowdsourced its collections since the early 1800s? The Smithsonian has relied on volunteers to provide everything from weather data, to ornithological specimen, to even transcription! The same was true for the United States National Museum’s Department of Prehistoric Anthropology. This monthly curator’s report from 1892 shows the breadth of the growing museum collection, and all the people across the country who contributed to it. Join in on another Smithsonian crowdsourcing project and help transcribe this report!
14 Total Pages 4 Contributing Members
Though the first Smithsonian Secretary, scientist Joseph Henry, died in 1878, nearly two decades later his legacy was still thriving at the Smithsonian--this time, in its collections. Learn more about the acquisition and exhibition of Henry's electrical apparatuses, and the curatorial plan for the growth of the Smithsonian's Electrical Collections in this 1896-97 annual report. Help us transcribe this illuminating piece of Smithsonian history!
10 Total Pages 9 Contributing Members
The Smithsonian's Photographic Collection is now 120 years old--how did it all begin? Learn about the makings of that collection, under the stewardship of photographer and "well known expert" Thomas Smillie, and its inaugural exhibition with the Section of Photographic Collection's first Curator's Annual Report.
13 Total Pages 5 Contributing Members
In August of 1896, scientists traveled to Europe and Japan to view and document a rare total solar eclipse--and the photographs they took then became part of the Smithsonian's collection. Learn more about this accession and the work of the Smithsonian's Physical Apparatus department at a moment of transition to a new curator, in this 1896-97 annual report. Join other digital volunteers in transcribing this unique document!
146 Total Pages 28 Contributing Members
In the opening pages of these reports, head curator Robert Ridgway notes: "the number of specimens added to the collections in 1889-1890 is considerably less than [last year] but this is rather a cause for congratulations." As leader of a department in a National Museum that was still very young, what other factors contributed to Ridgway's perspective that a slow down in collection acquisitions was not a bad thing? Perhaps it was the large volume of unprocessed specimens received from the Galapagos Islands expeditions aboard the steamer Albatross or other expeditions. Please join us in transcribing these reports to see the work of the Smithsonian and its scientists from Ridgway's perspective. Your transcriptions help to make detailed searching possible of these documents possible for future students and researchers.
24 Total Pages 15 Contributing Members
In preparation for their annual reports, the curators of the United States National Museum were asked to "Please present any plans which you have in view for the development of your department." After 15 years, the Museum collections continued to grow in number, creating some very practical challenges. Join us in transcribing the Department of Fishes report for 1896-1897 and see what challenges, the head curator was eager to address.