The Smithsonian Institution Archives (SIA) began its Oral History Program in 1973. The purpose of the program is to supplement the written documentation of the Archives'
record and manuscript collections with an Oral History Collection, focusing on the history of the Institution, research by its scholars, and contributions of its staff. Program
staff conduct interviews with current and retired Smithsonian staff and others who have made significant contributions to the Institution. There are also reminiscences and
interviews recorded by researchers or students on topics related to the history of the Smithsonian or the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
As part of the celebration of the Centennial of the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), oral history interviews were conducted with museum staff members from an
array of professions and subject areas, by SIA Institutional History Division staff, American University students, and volunteers from 2009 to 2011. Interviewees were nominated
by NMNH staff and the project was coordinated by Heather P. Ewing. Interviews were recorded in digital audio and digital video, and deposited in the Smithsonian Institution
Archives Oral History Collection.
These interviews discuss their careers at the NMNH, work with collections, research, scientific illustration, exhibits, taxidermy, museum security, interaction with
the public and staff. The NMNH Centennial Interviews consist of c. 38.75 hours of interview with 21.25 hours of digital audio recordings, 17.5 hours of digital video recordings,
and c. 500 pages of transcript.
National Museum of Natural History interviewees include Andre R. Bell, Protection Services, NMNH; Audrey Butler, Food Services; Alan H. Cheetham, Curator of Paleobiology;
R. "Chip" Clark, museum photographer; Roy S. Clarke, Jr., Curator of Meteorites; Donald Davis, Curator of Entomology; Elizabeth Dietrich, Supervisory Museum Specialist, Museum
Support Center; Leon Dixon, Locksmith Foreman; Nathan Erwin, manager, Insect Zoo; Frank M. Greenwell, taxidermist; Kristofer M. Helgen, Curator of Mammals; Gary F. Hevel,
Museum Specialist, Department of Entomology; David Hunt, Museum Specialist, Department of Anthropology; James J. Krakker, Museum Specialist, Department of Anthropology; Storrs
L. Olson, Curator of Birds; David L. Pawson, Curator of Invertebrate Zoology; Paul W. Pohwat, Museum Specialist, Department of Mineral Sciences; Paul D. Rhymer, exhibits specialist;
Mary E. Rice, director Emeritus, Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce; Martha Rosen, Natural History Branch Librarian for Smithsonian Institution Libraries; George F.
"Rusty" Russell, Supervisory Museum Specialist, Department of Botany; and George Venable, scientific illustrator, Department of Entomology.
Interviewers included Inci Bowman, Mignon Davis, and Mark White from NMNH, Lauren Dare and Pamela M. Henson from Smithsonian Institution Archives, Emma Lang, John Minks,
James Nelson, Cigdem Pakel, William Stapleton, and Bridget Sullivan from American University, and Courtney Shaw and Mary A. Thomas from Smithsonian Institution Libraries.
Some of these interviews are restricted. The Andre Bell, Roy S. Clarke, Jr., Kristofer M. Helgen, Storrs L. Olson, Paul W. Pohwat, Paul D. Rhymer, and Mary E. Rice interviews cannot be used without their permission prior to 2050. The Leon Dixon, Donald Davis, David L. Pawson, and Martha Rosen interview transcripts cannot be used without their permission. The George Venable recording cannot be used without permission. The Audrey Butler, Alan Cheetham, Chip Clark, Elizabeth Dietrich, Nathan Erwin, Frank Greenwell, Gary Hevel, David Hunt, James Krakker, and Rusty Russell interviews are unrestricted. Contact SIHistory@si.edu to request permission.
Neil Allen of Neil Allen Productions worked on the audiovisual elements of the Hall of Photography at the National Museum of American History. The hall opened in 1972
and was organized by Eugene Ostroff, curator. Allen worked on installations of photographs broken down into seven broad categories: scientific photography, frontier photography,
family photography, news and documentary photography, amateur photography, color photography, and applications of photography. Materials include correspondence, contracts,
research notes, scripts, images, motion picture film, audio recordings, and clippings.
film transport mechanisms for photography in scientific applications, space exploration, intelligence gathering, and documentation ; offer custom design for scientific instrumentation applications ; film viewers ; film readers ; animation photography equipment ; camera motors ; bubble chamber cameras ; precision photographic instrumentation