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A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews

Creator::
Wright, A. Gilbert, (Arthur Gilbert), 1909-1987, interviewee  Search this
Extent:
9 audiotapes (Reference copies).
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Transcripts
Audiotapes
Place:
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (Saint Louis, Mo.)
Date:
1983
Introduction:
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 interviews conducted by researchers or students on topics related to the history of the Smithsonian or the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Wright was interviewed for the Oral History Collection because of his long and wide-ranging experience in the museum field.
Descriptive Entry:
Wright was interviewed by Pamela M. Henson on five occasions between May and November of 1983. The interviews cover Wright's youth; early interests in museums, natural history, and taxidermy; his education; museum career at the Illinois State Museum, Peabody Museum of Natural History, Florida State Museum, National Park Service, and Smithsonian Institution; internship at the Buffalo Museum of Science; teaching at George Washington University; reminiscences of colleagues such as Arthur Sterry Coggeshall, Ralph H. Lewis, Alexander Wetmore, and John E. Anglim; and his publications and professional activities.
Historical Note:
Arthur Gilbert Wright (1909-1987), was a zoologist and exhibits curator, with diverse interests in natural history, exhibits preparation, and writing. Born in Carthage, Illinois, in 1909, Wright developed an interest in natural history, taxidermy, and museum curatorship in his youth. After receiving a B.A. in biology from Carthage College in 1932, he was appointed Zoologist at the Illinois State Museum (ISM) in 1933. Wright gained broad museum experience as a Rockefeller Foundation intern at the Buffalo Museum of Science in 1937-1938. During his ISM tenure, he published two volumes, The Illinois State Museum, Guide to Exhibits, and Common Illinois Insects. He received the M.S. degree in zoology from the University of Illinois at Urbana in 1946. Wright served briefly as Chief of the School Service Department of the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale in 1947-1948. In 1953 he left the ISM to accept a position as Curator of Exhibits at the Florida State Museum (FSM) in Gainesville. During the fifties, Wright prepared exhibits for the main FSM building, a "museumobile," and historical site museums throughout the state. In 1961, Wright was appointed Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis. The project was abruptly terminated in 1963 due to cost overruns for the Gateway Arch. Wright then joined the staff of the Office of Exhibits Programs at the Smithsonian Institution, as Assistant Chief with responsibilities for planning exhibits renovation in the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). In 1971-1972 Wright was Assistant to the Director of the NMNH for exhibits planning and during this time developed the Insect Zoo. When the Office of Exhibits was reorganized in 1972, Wright became a writer/editor in the Office of the Exhibits Editor until his retirement in 1975.

In the early 1970s, Wright began teaching courses in museology at George Washington University. After his retirement, he directed their new Museum Studies Program until 1978. Throughout his career, Wright was an active member of the American Association of Museums and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Topic:
Zoologists  Search this
Entomology  Search this
Zoology  Search this
Museum techniques  Search this
Museum curators -- Interviews  Search this
Interviews  Search this
Oral history  Search this
Genre/Form:
Transcripts
Audiotapes
Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9523, A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
Identifier:
Record Unit 9523
See more items in:
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-sia-faru9523

Interviews

Collection Creator::
Wright, A. Gilbert, (Arthur Gilbert), 1909-1987, interviewee  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9523, A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9523-refidd1e251

Interview 1: May 26, 1983

Collection Creator::
Wright, A. Gilbert, (Arthur Gilbert), 1909-1987, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9523, A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9523-refidd1e258

Covers his youth, education, and first museum position at the Illinois State Museum, c. 1909-1940, including: his youth, living in the Carthage Jail Museum; early interests in museums, natural history, and taxidermy; volunteer work at the Carthage Coll...

Collection Creator::
Wright, A. Gilbert, (Arthur Gilbert), 1909-1987, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9523, A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9523-refidd1e273

Transcript, pp. 1-39, of audiotape recording, 1.0 hour.

Collection Creator::
Wright, A. Gilbert, (Arthur Gilbert), 1909-1987, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9523, A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9523-refidd1e288

Recording of Interview: Total Recording Time: 1.0 hour

Collection Creator::
Wright, A. Gilbert, (Arthur Gilbert), 1909-1987, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9523, A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9523-refidd1e299

Interview 2: June 1, 1983

Collection Creator::
Wright, A. Gilbert, (Arthur Gilbert), 1909-1987, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9523, A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9523-refidd1e321

Discusses his career at the Illinois State Museum and Peabody Museum of Natural History, c. 1933-1948, focusing on: reminiscences of the staff of the ISM; his work on exhibits and the Guide to Exhibits in the 1930s; reminiscences of Coggeshall, includi...

Collection Creator::
Wright, A. Gilbert, (Arthur Gilbert), 1909-1987, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9523, A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9523-refidd1e336

Transcript, pp. 40-89, of audiotape recording, 1.5 hours.

Collection Creator::
Wright, A. Gilbert, (Arthur Gilbert), 1909-1987, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9523, A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9523-refidd1e357

Recording of Interview: Total Recording Time: 1.5 hours

Collection Creator::
Wright, A. Gilbert, (Arthur Gilbert), 1909-1987, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9523, A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9523-refidd1e368

Interview 3: June 28, 1983

Collection Creator::
Wright, A. Gilbert, (Arthur Gilbert), 1909-1987, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9523, A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9523-refidd1e389

Discusses his career as curator of exhibits at the Florida State Museum and chief of the Museum Planning Branch, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, Missouri, c. 1953-1963, including: his appointment as Curator of Exhibits at the FSM in...

Collection Creator::
Wright, A. Gilbert, (Arthur Gilbert), 1909-1987, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9523, A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9523-refidd1e404

Transcript, pp. 90-143, of audiotape recording, 1.5 hours.

Collection Creator::
Wright, A. Gilbert, (Arthur Gilbert), 1909-1987, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9523, A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9523-refidd1e416

Recording of Interview: Total Recording Time: 1.5 hours

Collection Creator::
Wright, A. Gilbert, (Arthur Gilbert), 1909-1987, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9523, A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9523-refidd1e427

Interview 4: July 7, 1983

Collection Creator::
Wright, A. Gilbert, (Arthur Gilbert), 1909-1987, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9523, A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9523-refidd1e448

Covers Wright's career at the Smithsonian, c. 1963-1975, focusing on: his arrival at the Smithsonian in 1963; work on the Exhibits Modernization Program in NMNH in the 1960s; working relations between the curatorial, exhibit design, and exhibit product...

Collection Creator::
Wright, A. Gilbert, (Arthur Gilbert), 1909-1987, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9523, A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9523-refidd1e463

Transcript, pp. 144-197, of audiotape recording, 1.5 hours.

Collection Creator::
Wright, A. Gilbert, (Arthur Gilbert), 1909-1987, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9523, A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9523-refidd1e474

Recording of Interview: Total Recording Time: 1.5 hours

Collection Creator::
Wright, A. Gilbert, (Arthur Gilbert), 1909-1987, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9523, A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9523-refidd1e485

Interview 5: November 15, 1983

Collection Creator::
Wright, A. Gilbert, (Arthur Gilbert), 1909-1987, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9523, A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9523-refidd1e507

Discusses Wright's career at the Smithsonian, publications and teaching at George Washington University, c. 1963-1978, including: reminiscences of Office of Exhibits Programs, especially accommodations in the Quonset hut and relations with taxidermists...

Collection Creator::
Wright, A. Gilbert, (Arthur Gilbert), 1909-1987, interviewee  Search this
Container:
Interviews
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Citation:
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9523, A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
See more items in:
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews
A. Gilbert Wright Oral History Interviews / Interviews
Archival Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-sia-faru9523-refidd1e522

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