The Oral History Program is part of the Smithsonian Institution Archives. The purpose of the program is to conduct interviews with current and retired members of the
Smithsonian staff who have made significant contributions, administrative and scholarly, to the Institution. The project's goal is to supplement the published record and manuscript
collections in the Archives, focusing on the history of the Institution and contributions to the increase and diffusion of knowledge made by its scholars.
The Nepal Tiger Project interviews were accessioned into the Oral History Collection because of the significance of this pioneering conservation program in Southeast Asia.
This interview of Anup Raj Joshi, Bishnu Bahadur Lama, and Pralad Yonzon, conducted by Pamela M. Henson, discussed their roles in the Nepal Tiger Project and reminiscences
of Smithsonian staff and activities for the project. The collection is consists of one interview session, totaling approximately 2 hours of recording and 60 pages of transcript.
On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Conservation and Research Center of the National Zoological Park, Institutional History Division Historian, Pamela M.
Henson interviewed several visitors from Nepal to record the history of the Smithsonian-Nepal Tiger Ecology Project. Tigers were declared endangered in 1968, and so, in 1972,
Smithsonian Secretary S. Dillon Ripley created the project to train and develop conservation leaders in the field of tiger ecology, develop a deep understanding of tiger behavioral
ecology, and formulate a set of conservation actions that would ensure tiger survival in Nepal. Research concentrated in the region of the Royal Chitwan National Park in Nepal.
Restricted. Contact SIHistory@si.edu to request permission.
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114 cu. ft. (228 document boxes)
Aldabra Islands (Seychelles)
These records document the administration, under David Challinor, of the science bureaus of the Smithsonian Institution, c. 1975-1985. Also included are a few records
from 1971-1974 and 1986.
Series 1 consists of records of the offices reporting to the Assistant Secretary for Science, including the Center for the Study of Man and the National Anthropological
Film Center, the Chesapeake Bay Center for Biological Studies, the Office of Biological Conservation, the Office of Fellowships and Grants, the National Air and Space Museum,
the National Museum of Natural History, the National Zoological Park, the Radiation Biology Laboratory, the Fort Pierce Bureau, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory,
the Smithsonian Science Information Exchange, and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Changes which occurred during the period include the termination of the Office
of Biological Conservation and the Research Institute for Immigration and Ethnic Studies, the assignment of the Office of Fellowships and Grants to the Assistant Secretary
for Science, the combination of the Chesapeake Bay Center for Environmental Studies and the Radiation Biology Laboratory into the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center,
and the renaming of the Ft. Pierce Bureau as the Marine Station at Link Port. Records pertaining to environmental and other activities in foreign countries have been brought
together in this series under the International Environmental Sciences Program and the Environmental Science Program; however, scientists from most of the other bureaus participated
in these programs.
Series 2 consists of administrative subject files. Budget and personnel records of the bureaus, particularly 1976, the "Transition Quarter, " and 1977 are particularly
well represented, as are collections management and collection inventories. Also found in this series are records dealing with the Endangered Species Scientific Authority,
the International Convention Advisory Commission, the National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, and
the Charles Darwin Research Station.
Due to the volume and the nature of the records, the goal of processing was to bring together many accessions for easier access rather than to perfect the arrangement.
Dates and folder titles were used as found and may contain inconsistencies. Certain documents, such as budget, personnel, and records relating to the environmental activities
of Smithsonian offices, are like to appear in both series.
Further material on the bureaus, programs, and projects covered in these records can be found in the records of the individual offices and museums which reported to the
Assistant Secretary for Science (now Research).
David Challinor served as Assistant Secretary for Science from 1971 until 1988. In 1985 the name of the position was changed to Assistant Secretary for Research. Ross
B. Simons served as Program Manager, 1976-. The period documented in these records was one of expansion of facilities and extensive participation by the Smithsonian in local,
national, and international environmental activities. Smithsonian scientists played an active part in the environmental movement through such projects as the study of the
Rhode River ecosystem in Maryland, the coral reefs of Albadra in the Indian Ocean, and the soils of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. At the same time, many of the science bureaus
embarked on or completed ambitious projects in the museums.
The National Zoo completed the modernization of many of its animal quarters during this time, including the Great Ape House, the Lion-Tiger House, and the Monkey House.
Important expansion included the acquisition of land at Front Royal, Virginia, in 1975, which culminated in the completion of the Conservation Research Center in 1983, where
the Zoo can conserve and propagate exotic wildlife.
The National Museum of Natural History began the period with the establishment of a twenty-year plan for exhibitions. Projects completed included the Naturalist Center
in 1976, the exhibition of a living coral reef in 1980, the Evans Gallery in 1981, and Magnificent Voyagers, concerning the Wilkes Expedition of 1838, in 1985. An on-line
inventory of sixty million items in collections was completed in 1983 in connection with the opening of the Museum Support Center in Maryland. Other events included the initiation
of the Handbook of North American Indians in 1975, the establishment of the National Anthropological Film Center in 1976, and the 75th anniversary of the museum in 1985.
The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory participated in such joint ventures as the building of the infra-red telescope, and the study of the 6,000 pound Old Woman Meteorite.
The Multiple Mirror Telescope was built at Mt. Hopkins, Arizona.
The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) enjoyed a period of modernization of facilities and intense use by scientists under the Environmental Sciences Program
to measure climatic and biological changes on Barro Colorado Island and obtain baseline data for future studies. The signing of the Panama Canal Treaties in 1977 solidified
the position of the Institute.
The National Air and Space Museum (NASM) opened in 1976 and quickly became the most visited museum in the world. By 1984, the 75th millionth visitor had arrived. Projects
undertaken by NASM's scientists and historians included the Quetzalcoatlus Project, the Space Telescope History Project, Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, and a series on the history
of aviation. The annual Frisbee Festival began in 1977 and millions of visitors viewed the popular IMAX movies in the museum.
Other environmental activities included the Nepal Tiger Ecology Project, the Smithsonian Institution Peace Corps Environmental Program, the Coral Reef Symposium, and the
Brazil and Amazon Ecosystems Project.