Holman J. Swinney (b. New York City, 1919) began his career in museums at the Pratt Institute and Old Sturbridge Village. He was Director of the Idaho Historical Society from 1956 to 1965; Director of the Adirondack Museum in New York from 1965 through 1971; and Director of the Margaret Woodbury Strong Museum in New York from 1972 until his retirement in 1982, when he became Director Emeritus.
Swinney was associated with the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) from 1956 to 1975, and served on its Council, as General Editor, and on its Executive and National Awards Committees. He became involved with the American Association of Museums (AAM) in 1964, served on its Council from 1971 to 1974, and was on several of its committees, notably those concerned with accreditation and ethics. He served on the Council of the New York State Association of Museums from 1967 to 1976, was Vice President from 1974 to 1976, and was involved with some of its committees. Other professional organizations Swinney was involved with are the Pacific Northwest Museums League, the Western Museums League, the Northeast Museums Conference, and the Museums Data Bank Committee.
Swinney was also an active museum consultant from the 1950s through the 1980s, and delivered a number of speeches and lectures before professional audiences. In addition, he authored many articles for museum publications. In 1979 Swinney developed a museum training program at the University of Oklahoma, and taught classes there. The students submitted papers, to which Swinney responded with written criticisms.
These papers document many aspects of Swinney's life and career. They contain income tax returns dating from 1943; report cards from primary school; documentation of his WWII military service; and records of his home ownership. In addition, the papers include correspondence from Swinney's directorships of the Adirondack Museum and the Strong Museum. The records also contain materials concerning Swinney's involvement in various professional associations, primarily his committee work in the AASLH and the AAM. In particular, the papers document the development of the AAM's museum accreditation system and museum ethics issues. The papers also contain many case files from Swinney's consulting work, along with lectures, speeches, articles, and reports authored by him. Finally, the papers include files on Swinney's students at the University of Oklahoma.
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Capital Gallery, Suite 3000, MRC 507; 600 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20024-2520