Exhibition Records,
1942-2001

Summary
Collection ID:
Accession 06-276
Creators:
National Museum of American History. Division of Information Technology and Society
Dates:
1942-2001
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
16 cu. ft. (16 record storage boxes)
Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives

Descriptive Entry
Descriptive Entry
This accession consists of records which document the planning, development, and installation of Science in American Life, a major permanent exhibition at the National Museum of American History (NMAH). This exhibition demonstrates how science has changed the way Americans have lived over the past 125 years. Opening on April 27, 1994, Science in American Life was 4 years in the making and took the work and collaboration of more than 75 curators, educators, writers, designers and scientific consultants. It occupies 13,000 square feet of exhibition space and includes approximately 600 artifacts, 700 graphics, six video loops, three sound and light displays, six computer interactives, two CD-ROM interactives, 11 mechanical interactives, and a science center featuring 20 hands-on activities.
The exhibition was underwritten by a $5.3 million contribution from the American Chemical Society and was executed under the leadership of Chief Curator, Arthur P. Molella, chair of the Department of the History of Science and Technology. The exhibition begins with an orientation area where people are greeted by 12 host scientists - 10 scientists and two children, represented by life-size photographs and recorded voices - who give a personal, contemporary perspective of the historial materials found in the exhibition. Following this are 6 sections arranged in chronologic order: "Laboratory Science Comes to America, 1876-1920;" "Science for Progress, 1920-1940;" "Mobilizing Science for War, 1940-1960;" "Better Than Nature, 1950-1970;" "Science in the Public Eye, 1970 to the present;" and "Looking Ahead." Developed by Museum Specialist Howard Morrison, "Looking Ahead" focuses on the science of biotechnology and public attitudes about it.
An additional component to the exhibition is the 1,500 square-foot interactive education center known as the "Hands on Science Center." All aspects of the exhibition are documented, including publicity, the anti-science controversy, the glossing over of corporate misdeeds, exhibition design, educational aspects, curriculum development, grant proposals, advisory board meetings, copyrights, audio and video development, feasibility studies, audience surveys, and object acquisition. Subjects and people covered in the exhibition include chemists Ira Remsen and Ellen Henrietta Richards; coal tar and synthetic materials; the Manhattan Project; the first nuclear reactor, Chicago Pile no. 1; the birth control pill; pesticides; DNA; chlorofluorocarbons and atmospheric ozone; the Superconducting Super Collider; genetic engineering; and biotechnology. Materials include correspondence, memoranda, reports, meeting minutes, notes, scripts, contracts, loan agreements, exhibitions proposals, evaluations, budget summaries, design submittals, floor plans, black-and-white photographs and negatives, color photographs and negatives, floppy disks, clippings, and brochures.

Notes
SI Records

Using the Collection
Prefered Citation
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 06-276, National Museum of American History. Division of Information Technology and Society, Exhibition Records

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Molella, Arthur P., 1944- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Klose, Claudine Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Schloss, Steve Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Daniel, Pete Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Dutta, Smita Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gossel, Patricia Peck, 1943- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Allison, David K., 1950- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tabachnick, Elena Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hilke, Deborah D. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Boyne, Eleanor Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rossilli, Ann Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Remsen, Ira, 1846-1927 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Richards, Ellen H. (Ellen Henrietta), 1842-1911 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Chemical Society Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of American History (U.S.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Department of the History of Science and Technology Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Manhattan Project (U.S.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Chicago Pile no. 1 Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Science in American Life (Exhibition) (1994: Washington, D.C.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nuclear reactors Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Chemists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Synthetic products Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Coal-tar Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Oral contraceptives Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Pesticides Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
DNA Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Chlorofluorocarbons Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ozone Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Superconducting Super Collider Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Genetic engineering Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Biotechnology Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museums -- Educational aspects Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Science -- History Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum exhibits Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States -- Social life and customs Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Brochures Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clippings Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Manuscripts Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Floppy disks Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Floor plans Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Black-and-white photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Color photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Black-and-white negatives Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Color negatives Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Smithsonian Institution Archives
Washington, D.C.
Contact us at osiaref@si.edu