17.9 cu. ft. (16 record storage boxes) (5 film boxes)
Motion pictures (visual works)
This record unit consists of 16mm motion picture films produced by the Office of Telecommunications (OTC) and its predecessors, the Smithsonian Museum Service, the
Office of Public Information, and the Office of Public Affairs. Also included are films created by outside producers in collaboration with OTC. Included are black and white
and color films, workprints, and silent films. Of special interest are films of Smithsonian special events, bureaus, facilities, equipment, exhibitions, openings, and staff;
films of politicians and celebrities at the Smithsonian including Lyndon Baines Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Hubert H. Humphrey, and Alan B. Shepard, Jr.;
films from the 1966 National Broadcasting Corporation series THE SMITHSONIAN; and Smithsonian-produced films The Leaf Thieves, 1963, which documents the planning and fabrication
of a proposed rain forest exhibition in the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), and The Smithsonian's Whale, 1964, which concerns the construction of a 92-foot model
blue whale in NMNH.
Restrictions pertaining to the use of these materials may apply (based on contracts/copyright). Access restrictions may also apply if viewing copies are not currently available. Viewing copies can be made for a fee. Contact reference staff for details.
Motion pictures -- Production and direction Search this
Reunions: Memories of an American Experience (Documentary film : 1979)
Leaf Thieves (Motion picture : 1963)
Mirrors on the Universe: The MMT story (Motion picture : 1979)
Sense of Discovery, The National Collection of Fine Arts (Motion picture : 1980)
Smithsonian Galaxy (Radio program)
Smithsonian World (Television program : 1984-1991)
Radio Smithsonian (Radio program)
Smithsonian Institution with S. Dillon Ripley, Secretary (Television program)
Here at the Smithsonian (Television program)
7.5 cu. ft. (7 record storage boxes) (1 document box)
These records primarily document the activities of OTC under Director Nazaret Cherkezian. A small amount of records were created by Paul B. Johnson. There are also
a few records created by OTC's predecessor offices. The records include correspondence, memoranda, proposals, contracts, budgets, reports, newspaper clippings, press releases,
scripts, and related materials concerning OTC radio broadcasts Radio Smithsonian and Smithsonian Galaxy; television and film productions, especially "Smithsonian World" and
the Emmy award-winning "The Smithsonian Institution with S. Dillon Ripley, Secretary;" production planning; facilities and equipment, including the construction of the OTC
studio in the National Museum of History and Technology; and administrative records.
The Office of Telecommunications (OTC) was established on August 15, 1976, as a separate unit reporting directly to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public
Service. Prior to the creation of OTC, coordination of Smithsonian telecommunication activities was a function of the Smithsonian Museum Service, 1958-1965; the Office of
Public Information, 1965-1967; and the Office of Public Affairs, 1967-1976. OTC develops ideas for the production of programs and broadcast series for public and commercial
television and radio, films, and related visual and audio materials, which bring a better understanding of the Smithsonian to American and foreign audiences. OTC is also the
contact point for all interested outside producers of telecommunications projects relating to all Smithsonian bureaus. OTC broadcast series have included Radio Smithsonian,
a national, weekly radio program providing information about the multi-disciplinary activities of the Institution which was in production from 1969 to 1990; Smithsonian Galaxy,
a series of short radio features highlighting the work of Smithsonian curators, scientists, and researchers broadcast from 1979 to 1987; and Here at the Smithsonian, a series
of short features for television, produced from 1982 to 1989. In addition, OTC produces films of special events of the Institution; provides archival recordings of conferences,
symposia, and other programs; and produces films for Smithsonian exhibitions. Nazaret Cherkezian was appointed Director of OTC in 1976. He retired in 1986 and was replaced
by Assistant Director Paul B. Johnson who served as Acting Director, 1986-1988, and Director, 1988-2002.
Tropical Rainforest Exhibit Oral History Interviews
20 audiotapes and 1 videotape.
The Smithsonian Institution Archives 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.
Tropical Rainforest Exhibit Oral History Interviews were compiled to document the exhibit processes of the National Museum of Natural History.
Steven W. Allison, Smithsonian Predoctoral Fellow, from Cornell University, Department of Science and Technology Studies, conducted these interviews as a part of his
doctoral research into the relationship between exhibition and research in natural history museums. These interviews cover the relationship between research and exhibition
at the NMNH; the changes in meaning of the rainforest as it was reinterpreted for different exhibits; and the impact of trends in public education about science and the role
of an icon, such as the rainforest, in discussions of the environment. Interviews of Sayre include both audiotaped and videotaped sessions and include many visuals from the
The Tropical Rainforest Exhibit Oral History Interviews consist of 16 interview sessions, totaling approximately 18.5 hours of audiotape recordings, 0.40 hours of videotape
recordings, and 313 pages of transcript.
Museum exhibits are the result of a complex interplay between researchers, educators, and design specialists. These interviews focus on a case study of the evolution
of a tropical rainforest life group at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in the 1960s and 1970s, which first emerged as a Hall of Botany in 1960, was redefined
as a Hall of Living Things in 1968, was eventually built for an exhibit on environmental issues called It All Depends: How Man Affects and Is Affected by His Natural
Environment, in 1974, and was later moved to the Hall of South American Anthropology in the Natural History Building. The interviewees include: Stanwyn G. Shetler,
Curator of Phanerogams, NMNH, member of the exhibit committee for the original Hall of Botany; Reginald "Bud" J. Sayre, Preparator, Natural History Laboratory, who participated
in an expedition to Kaieteur Falls in British Guiana to collect specimens and make molds and drawings of the site for the rainforest part of the exhibit in NMNH; Sophy Burnham,
former Assistant Curator of the Smithsonian Museum Service, who was instrumental in creating a film, The Leaf Thieves, which documents the creation of the exhibit;
Richard Sumner Cowan, former Director, NMNH, who also participated in the Kaieteur Falls Expedition to collect materials for the original Hall of Botany; Joseph Shannon,
former Designer, NMNH, who worked on the design of the Botany Hall and later the Hall of Living Things; Paul N. Perrot, former Assistant Secretary for Museum
Programs, who was involved in providing support, recommendations, and facilitating the exhibit work, and who helped establish an Office of Exhibits Central at the Smithsonian;
James A. Mahoney, former Chief of the Office of Exhibits Central, who worked on many aspects of the rainforest exhibit; David B. Lellinger, Curator of Ferns, NMNH, a member
of the original exhibit committee and participant in several collecting field trips for the exhibit; and Thomas E. Lovejoy, III, Counselor to the Secretary for Biodiversity
and Environmental Affairs, on the role of tropical rainforests as icons for the environmental movement.
Restricted. Contact SIHistory@si.edu to request permission.
Smithsonian Institution. Office of Public Affairs Search this
1 cu. ft. (1 record storage box)
The Calendar of Events was originally published by the Smithsonian Museum Service, which was established in 1958 to provide non-technical information about exhibits,
research, and events to the public. G. Carroll Lindsay was appointed Acting Curator of the service in 1958 and Curator in 1959. He served until 1966, when Meredith Johnson
was named Acting Director. James R. Morris became Director in 1967 and served until 1968, when the Office of Public Affairs was formally established. For an administrative
history of the Office of Public Affairs, see Record Unit 369.
The Calendar was at first sent only to staff members, but eventually they were sent to docents and volunteers and then to other interested persons. In recent years the
Calendar has been published in several Washington newspapers.
The Calendar of Events was issued monthly to inform the public of dates, times, and places of exhibitions, lectures, films, special events, tours, and hours of operation.
The Calendar consists of one page and is usually folded and adapted for use as a mailer.
Smithsonian Institution. Office of Public Affairs Search this
10 cu. ft. (10 record storage boxes)
News releases, also called press releases, have long been issued by the Smithsonian to communicate information to the public about Smithsonian events, important visitors,
new exhibitions, lectures, and scholarly and administrative appointments. For earlier news releases, researchers should consult Record Unit 82. Some boxes have item lists,
contact the SIA Reference Staff for further information (call 202-633-5870 or email OSIAREF@si.edu).
News releases were published by the Smithsonian Museum Service, 1958-1967. In 1968 the newly-established Office of Public Affairs assumed the responsibility. For an
administrative history of the Smithsonian Museum Service, see Record Unit 405. For an administrative history of the Office of Public Affairs, see Record Unit 369.