15 Total Pages 6 Contributing Members
It’s a topic that museum conservators across the globe deal with every day—preservation management. How do we keep our collections safe from everything from mold, to water, to insects? This question was on the minds of staff in the Smithsonian’s Department of Birds in 1881, too, as documented in this set of monthly curator’s reports. Part of the notes document an assessment of the thousands of bird specimen for potential damage (all were found in “excellent condition!”). Learn more about the process, and join in transcribing this unique piece of museum history.
25 Total Pages 15 Contributing Members
The Smithsonian’s Bureau of Ethnology—established in 1879—was tasked with preserving the records and materials of Native American tribes throughout North America. This included a variety of initiatives, like manuscript repositories, music and language recordings, and a collection of aboriginal pottery. These annual reports document the accessions, exhibitions, and other work done by the Section of Aboriginal Pottery during the beginnings of the Bureau of Ethnology. Get a look into the Smithsonian’s past and help transcribe these reports for future generations of researchers.
- USNM CURATORS ANNUAL REPORTS -- Department of Ethnology, Section of Aboriginal Pottery, 1887- 1889
- USNM CURATORS ANNUAL REPORTS -- Department of Ethnology, Section of Aboriginal Pottery, 1889- 1890
- USNM CURATORS ANNUAL REPORTS -- Department of Ethnology, Section of Aboriginal Pottery, 1890- 1891
- USNM CURATORS ANNUAL REPORTS -- Department of Ethnology, Section of Aboriginal Pottery, 1891- 1892
- USNM CURATORS ANNUAL REPORTS -- Department of Ethnology, Section of Aboriginal Pottery, 1892- 1893
65 Total Pages 16 Contributing Members
Washington Territory—which throughout the 1800s included parts of Oregon, Nebraska, and Idaho—was admitted to the Union as the 42nd state in 1889. Just a few years prior, ethnologists were collecting items from the Washington Territory and sending it to the Smithsonian. Learn more about the items that joined the Department of Ethnology collections with this curator’s annual report from the 1886-87 fiscal year. Help other digital volunteers to transcribe this unique look into the Smithsonian’s history!
32 Total Pages 12 Contributing Members
In 1887 the Smithsonian’s policy stated that it was necessary to “find a significant place for everything that has a name.” With a growing collection, and a space in the Arts and Industries Building, this posed a dilemma for the curators of the US National Museum! See how the Department of Ethnology tackled the issue with this 1887-88 annual curator’s report—then help transcribe it!
35 Total Pages 10 Contributing Members
Did you know that some of the specimens in the Smithsonian’s Department of Ethnology were collected by naval officers? During the 1880s, the Navy Department encouraged officers on cruises around the world to collect and take notes “as might prove of value.” Learn more about the Navy’s contributions to the Smithsonian’s early collections in the Department of Ethnology’s 1888-89 annual curator’s report! Then help transcribe this look into the Smithsonian’s past!
84 Total Pages 14 Contributing Members
Today, professional development—like attending conferences or skill-sharing with colleagues at other institutions—is an important part of the museum profession. The same can be said for the Smithsonian’s Department of Ethnology in 1889! The department curator traveled to Europe and detailed the methods and practices he saw at British museums in his annual report. Read his observations and help transcribe them for a new generation of museum professionals!
91 Total Pages 19 Contributing Members
In 1890, President Benjamin Harrison established the National Board of Geographical names—a part of the US Geological Survey, which established a uniform set among the hundreds of different geographic names and descriptors used by scientists and federal agencies. Who did the National Board of Geographical Names look to for guidance on this ambitious project? The Smithsonian’s Department of Ethnology! Learn more about this project, among others taken on by the department, in the 1890-91 annual curator report and help transcribe this piece of Smithsonian history.
73 Total Pages 15 Contributing Members
In 1893, the Chicago World’s Fair, also known as the Chicago Columbian Expedition, kicked off—celebrating 400 years since Christopher Columbus came to the New World. Over 27 million people attended the exposition, which featured buildings representing 46 countries. A few years before the World’s Fair began, preparations were well underway, including at the Smithsonian! The Department of Ethnology outlines their involvement in the World’s Fair in this annual curator’s report. Learn more about the Chicago World’s Fair and help transcribe a piece of Smithsonian history.
33 Total Pages 14 Contributing Members
Ichthyologist George Brown Goode had many different responsibilities during his time at the Smithsonian: assistant to Secretary Spencer Baird, exhibit designer, and head of the Smithsonian’s fish research initiatives. He was also an integral part of the planning for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair (and found time to do some collecting for the museum, in the process!). Get a glimpse into the many contributions of George Brown Goode in this set of annual curator’s reports from the Smithsonian’s Department of Ethnology. Join other volunteers in transcribing this report!
39 Total Pages 13 Contributing Members
The Smithsonian’s Department of Ethnology Curator in 1894 defined his role as determining “comprehensively and comparatively the American arts.” What did that work entail exactly? Find out in the 1893-94 annual curator’s report! Get the details about the department and the curator’s functions, and join other volunteers in transcribing this report!