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observation tube

National Museum of American History

Observation

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Observation Beehive

Smithsonian Institution Archives
Digital contact sheet available.

Requested from Photographic Services Division by Division of Agriculture and Mining.

Children view the Observation Beehive located in Farm Machinery Hall at the National Museum of History and Technology, now known as the National Museum of American History.

Italian Observation #6

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Paper Plate Observation

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Lesson has students simulate the documentation of the Transit of Venus using paper plates and marking the path of the transit. Gives practice with scientific inquiry and recording. Includes related web resources, printable images, and alternative lessons.

Observation and Preservation Pastime

National Postal Museum
I had the pleasure of working with the Preservation Department for a brief three week internship. I focused on two main projects, rehousing postal service badges, and conducting visitor observations. Rehousing, is when you create safe or secure housing for an object. In doing this, I learned the process of how to safely store artifacts, as well as how to make the proper sink mats to house them.

Deep Reef Observation Project

Smithsonian Institution
Off the coast of Curacao, Smithsonian marine biologist Carole Baldwin leads the Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP), an effort to study biodiversity and monitor changes in deep tropical reefs. To learn more go to https://global.si.edu/success-stories/discovering-new-species-through-tropical-reef-biodiversity-research

Villa or observation tower

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Liberty Island, Centennial Observation

Smithsonian American Art Museum

"American Method in Astronomical Observation"

National Museum of American History
From its infancy, timekeeping has depended on astronomy. The motion of celestial bodies relative to the rotating Earth provided the most precise measure of time until the mid-twentieth century, when quartz and atomic clocks proved more constant. Until that time, mechanical observatory clocks were set and continuously corrected to agree with astronomical observations.

The application of electricity to observatory timepieces in the late 1840s revolutionized the way American astronomers noted the exact movement of celestial events. U.S. Coast Survey teams devised a method to telegraph clock beats, both within an observatory and over long distances, and to record both the beats and the moment of observation simultaneously. British astronomers dubbed it the "American method of astronomical observation" and promptly adopted it themselves.

Transmitting clock beats by telegraph not only provided astronomers with a means of recording the exact moment of astronomical observations but also gave surveyors a means of determining longitude. Because the Earth rotates on its axis every twenty-four hours, longitude and time are equivalent (fifteen degrees of longitude equals one hour).

In 1849 William Cranch Bond, then director of the Harvard College Observatory, devised an important improvement for clocks employed in the "American method." He constructed several versions of break-circuit devices—electrical contracts and insulators attached to the mechanical clock movement—for telegraphing clock beats once a second. The Bond regulator shown here incorporates such a device. Bond's son Richard designed the accompanying drum chronograph, an instrument that touched a pen to a paper-wrapped cylinder to record both the beats of the clock and the instant of a celestial event, signaled when an observer pressed a telegraph key.

Observation Quarantine - Board of Health

National Museum of American History
Board of Health: OBSERVATION QUARANTINE: Persons other than those of the household and those legally authorized are forbidden to enter. No person other than those authorized by the Board of Health shall remove this placard. Any person or persons defacing, covering up or destroying this placard render themselves liable to the penalties of the law. Act of the General Assembly approved June 28, 1923, provides that anyone violating the provisions of this Act, upon conviction thereof, may be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $100.00, to be paid to the use of said county, and costs of prosecution, or to be imprisoned in the county jail for a period of not less than ten days or more than thirty days, or both, at the discretion of the court. By order of the Board of Health.

Solar Observation Station at Mt. Montezuma, Chile

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
At the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory at Mt. Montezuma, Chile, cave observatory and solar observation instruments are used in the study of the sun. A man using a solar observation instrument stands outside the cave.

interior of observation car of train

National Museum of American History

Insignia, Observation Squadron 9, United States Navy

National Air and Space Museum
United States Navy Observation Squadron 9 insignia; a gold eye with wing depicted.

This United States Navy Observation Squadron 9 aircraft insignia was part of a collection of original art work commissioned for the Smithsonian Institution through the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression.

Insignia, Observation Squadron 8, United States Navy

National Air and Space Museum
United States Navy Observation Squadron 8 insignia; playing card ace of spades depicted on a black circle surrounded by a white ring; silver background.

This insignia was part of a collection of original art work commissioned for the Smithsonian Institution through the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression.

Insignia, Observation Squadron 4, United States Navy

National Air and Space Museum
United States Navy Observation Squadron 4 insignia; a black battleship depicted in the center surrounded by reddish orange "O"' with yellow "V".

This insignia was part of a collection of original art work commissioned for the Smithsonian Institution through the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression.

Removing Honeycomb from the Observation Beehive

Smithsonian Institution Archives
A staff member removes honeycomb form the Observation Beehive on the second floor of the Arts and Industries Building.

An Old Observation Post at Martincourt

National Museum of American History
A charcoal and watercolor sketch on paper of an old observation post at Martincourt, France. A small platform, reached by a ladder, sits in the canopy of a tree.

American Observation Post ... Near Verdun ... Handimont

National Museum of American History
Black and white sketch. A soldier stands at the top of a set of stairs in a shell-torn building. The sketch is done on heavy white card; this is affixed to a larger piece of white cardboard.

Observation Bee Hive, A&I Building

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
Observation Beehive enclosed in a glass case on the second floor of the Arts and Industries Building with a glass passage way through the top of a window to allow the bees in and out. The bees are 3-banded Italian bees loaned by the Bee Culture Laboratory of the United States Department of Agriculture.

Monument in form of an observation tower

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Monument in form of an observation tower

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

New Observation Tower Is World's Thinnest

Smithsonian Magazine

For people with acrophobia—fear of heights—seeing the world from above probably isn't high on their priority lists. But for everyone else, the perspective can help shed new light on landscapes that just don’t look the same on the ground. Take Brighton, England. The seaside resort has a pier, historic buildings and iconic chalk cliffs. And now, reports the BBC, there's a new way to view it: the world’s most slender observation tower.

Standing 531 feet tall and just 12.7 feet wide, the British Airways i360 tower opened today in Brighton. It’s being billed as “a vertical pier”—a huge spire surrounded by a mobile viewing pod that “flies” up and down the tower. Designed by David Marks and Julia Barfield, who also created the famous London Eye Ferris wheel, the moving platform holds up to 200 people at a time and is home to a bar and panoramic, 26-mile views of Brighton’s coast. Graffiti by internationally renowned artists surrounded the temporary fences that surrounded the structure before its opening.

It took years to bring the project to fruition. Construction was delayed for five years when the global financial crisis hit England, and workers had to contend with Victorian-era sewers, over 4,000 tons of concrete and 1,336 bolts to create the gigantic structure. Though the tower opened as planned, reports the BBC, a fireworks celebration was canceled due to bad weather. 

The i360 has been widely mocked for everything from its “horror movie” appearance to its suggestive design. The building, however is intended to part of a revitalization effort for Brighton’s historic West Pier, which itself has a checkered past. Built in the 1860s at the height of British beach culture, the pier became a hugely popular tourist destination for its wooden “prom,” or promenade.  Beachgoers enjoyed concerts, tea and other amusements on the pier, but its glory days did not last forever.

During World War II, the pier was bombed along with the seaside city and there were apparently orders to destroy it altogether to ward off a German landing. After the war, it fell into disrepair and was eventually closed due to safety concerns. The pier burned in 2003 and was partially demolished by 70-mile-per-hour winds in 2014. Fragments of the historic structure were even sold at auction this year.

Now, though, officials hope the i360 will become an icon of the area and breathe new life into the West Pier. Sure, it’s not acrophobia-friendly—but the view from above seems mighty fine.

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