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Himba Research Film 1972-1973

Human Studies Film Archives
Supplementary materials: 1,3,5 title supplied by Archives staff (unpublished work) -- archival collection Cataloging supported by Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee Full film record of a research film project documenting the Himba, a pastoral Bantu people of southwestern Angola and northwestern Namibia. Footage features documentation of a rainmaking ceremony with animal sacrifices to the ancestors and the annointing of stones (rain shrines), the tending of cattle herds and the problems of drought, various musical performances, a baby-naming ceremony, and techniques of female hairdressing and braiding. Edited films THE HIMBA and HIMBA WEDDING were produced from this project.

Hot Topics in Archival Research

Smithsonian Institution Archives

Cortege Bringing James Smithson Remains to Smithsonian, 1904, Record Unit 95, Smithsonian Institution Archives, neg. no. 82-3337.

Appropriately funereal for approaching Halloween, this military cortege accompanied James Smithson's remains from the Washington Navy Yard to the Smithsonian, on January 23, 1904. James Smithson (c.1765-1829) died in Genoa, Italy, and was buried there. However, after the turn of the century, the Smithsonian was notified that the graves were to be moved to allow quarrying on the cemetery site. Smithsonian Regent Alexander Graham Bell and his wife Mabel traveled to Italy to oversee the disinterment of Smithson's remains and their transportation to the Institution that his bequest created.

This photo will be used in an Explorer at Large internet documentary.

When asked what the Smithsonian Institution Archives collects, we say we hold records about the history of the Smithsonian and its people, programs, research, and activities. While accurate, this doesn't really give anyone a clue about what is actually in those records.

The Smithsonian Institution Archives Reference Term handles an average of around 6,000 queries per year, and if you ask us what people have been researching at the Archives recently, you'll get some pretty interesting responses. Although not comprehensive, here's a snapshot of the diverse range of information encompassed by the archives of the world's largest museum complex!

Over the past three months, researcher projects have included:

  • African American history at the Smithsonian
  • History of Tropical biology in the 20th century Caribbean
  • Philippine collections at the Smithsonian
  •  World’s Fairs and Expositions
  • William Whewell and Pre-Darwinian systematics
  • The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
  • Exploration and settlement of the American West
  • History of African-American museums
  • Tropical biology in the Pacific
  • The Wilkes Exploring Expedition
  • Smithsonian presentation of science to the public
  • Botanical exploration in Lower California

Upcoming publications using our photos or documents include:

Mary Jane Rathbun at Woods Hole, 1890, Record Unit 7256, Smithsonian Institution Archives, neg. no. 78-10629.

Mary Jane Rathbun, carcinologist at the United States National Museum, at left with Katherine J. Bush of Yale University, second from left, Charlotte Bush and Eloise Edwards at the Marine Biological Laboratory and United States Fish Commission Station at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, probably in the 1890s.

This photo will appear in Richard Conif’s projected book on the history of the Peabody Museum of Natural History . 

Most unusual reference inquiry:

T. Dale Stewart Examining Skull, 1950, Record Unit 9521, Smithsonian Institution Archives, neg. no. 85-8066.

Fox Television was given permission to use Archives images as set dressing for its popular television series Bones. Among them was this photo of T. Dale Stewart, physical anthropologist, Department of Anthropology, United States National Museum. The photograph was most likely taken in October 1950 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Stewart often examined skeletons for the FBI and pioneered the field of forensic anthropology.

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National Postal Museum Research Resources

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Links compiled by the National Postal Museum to aid research projects, such as past and upcoming symposiums and lectures, industry white papers, and finding guides for navigating the collections, Arago (the museum's research and education website), the museum library, online articles, articles from EnRoute newsletter, photographic archives, videos, topical reference pages, Smithsonian magazine, and external research links.

Computer, Dead Reckoning, Aero Products Research

National Air and Space Museum
Slide and computer: aluminum with black and blue markings.

Computer, Dead Reckoning, Aero Products Research Inc.

National Air and Space Museum
E6-B1 Slide and computer: plastic with black and blue markings, aluminum color. circa 1967.

Computer, Dead Reckoning, Aero Products Research Inc.

National Air and Space Museum
E6-B2 Slide and computer: aluminum with black and blue markings. circa 1967.

United States Fish Commission Research and Collecting Vessel

Smithsonian Institution Archives
The foreground on the right side of the stereograph is masked out.

Unidentified man in rowboat in foreground, United States Fish Commission collecting vessel in background.

Paraglider Research Vehicle (Paresev) 1-A, Gemini

National Air and Space Museum
From 1962 to 1964, NASA used the Paresev to develop the technology for landing the two-man Gemini capsule on land, instead of parachuting into the ocean, as had been done in Project Mercury. The astronauts would release an inflatable paraglider wing based on the work of Francis Rogallo, and maneuver to a runway or dry lake bed. Astronauts "Gus" Grissom and Neil Armstrong were among those who piloted the Paresev during several hundred flights at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The Paresev was towed by a ground vehicle or a small aircraft and released at an altitude between 5,000 and 12,000 feet. It was tested with three different wings; the 1-A is the first configuration. Before the paraglider concept could be fully developed for the Gemini program, NASA decided to stick with the proven technology of parachutes and water landing.

NASA transferred the Paresev to the Smithsonian in 1968.

[Early radio research. Active no. 1797 : photonegative.]

Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Currently stored in box 3.1.70 [227A].

Orig. no. A-14.

Earl Silas Tupper Research and Conference Center

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
Featured in Torch, December 1989

A Corotu tree, left, towers near the entrance to the Earl Silas Tupper Research and Conference Center, completed in 1989, at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), Panama City, Panama. The Center is used by STRI scientists and visiting researchers from around the world.

Celebrating the research of Dr. Nancy Knowlton

Smithsonian Libraries
The Smithsonian Libraries salutes Dr. Nancy Knowlton, the Sant Chair in Marine Science at the National Museum of Natural History and senior scientist emerita at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, who has received the 2016 Secretary’s Distinguished Scholar Award. The award celebrates excellence in all branches of Smithsonian scholarship by honoring the sustained achievement of more »

Smithsonian research plot burns in Yosemite fires

Smithsonian Insider

As the Rim Fire burns deeper into Yosemite, park managers are fighting fire with fire—and one of the Smithsonian’s ForestGEO plots was caught in the […]

The post Smithsonian research plot burns in Yosemite fires appeared first on Smithsonian Insider.

NASM Historical Research Center in Arts and Industries Building

Smithsonian Institution Archives
Requested from Photographic Services Division by National Air and Space Museum.

Historical Research Center, Department of Aeronautics, National Air and Space Museum (NASM), located in the Arts and Industries Building.

NASM Historical Research Center in Arts and Industries Building

Smithsonian Institution Archives
Requested from Photographic Services Division by National Air and Space Museum.

With Robert B. Wood, chief of the Historical Research Center, Department of Aeronautics, National Air and Space Museum (NASM), located in the Arts and Industries Building.

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Online Databases

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Links to searchable databases useful for research into aquatic ecosystems.

United States Fish Commission Research and Collecting Vessels

Smithsonian Institution Archives
Unidentified man leans against tree on shore with views of United States Fish Commission research and collecting vessels.

Field Research: Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation

Smithsonian Insider

The Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation offers a range of compelling residential, hands-on, interdisciplinary programs in conservation biology for undergraduate and graduate students and professionals at […]

The post Field Research: Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation appeared first on Smithsonian Insider.

SI Research Vessel, The "R. V. Johnson"

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
The Smithsonian Institution's research vessel, the R.V. Johnson, used by the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce, Florida.

Bellbird Singing at Bocas del Toro Research Station

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
This short clip shows a Three-wattled bellbird singing as it perches in a tree at STRI's Bocas del Toro Research Station. Video by: Jim Roper Edited by: Rachel Collin

Bocas Research Station Animals, Part 5: Northern Jacanas

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
STRI's Bocas del Toro Research Station is home to several Nothern Jacanas (Jacana spinosa) that inhabit the pond found infront of the main laboratory building.

Caiman Relocation at Bocas del Toro Research Station

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
A caiman got chased out of the mangroves after a fight with another animal and was found roaming around STRI's Bocas del Toro Research Station's houses. It was relocated to the pond infront of the Station laboratory building. The pond is home to several caimans.
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