Records,
1926-1930, 1954-1988

Summary
Collection ID:
Record Unit 383
Creators:
National Museum of American History. Division of Armed Forces History
Dates:
1926-1930, 1954-1988
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
10.5 cu. ft. (10 record storage boxes) (1 document box)
Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives

Descriptive Entry
Descriptive Entry
These records include correspondence and memoranda documenting research activities, planning exhibitions for the Hall of Naval History, construction of ship models such as the USS Constitution, arrangements for acquiring the gunboat Philadelphia, studies of the submarine Nautilus and the Sperry Gyro-compass, presentation in 1965 of Sir Francis Drake's Cadiz Letter to the National Museum of History and Technology (NMHT), and involvement with the restoration of the USS Constellation. The records also consist of administrative files of the Division, public inquiries, blueprints for the Hall of Naval History, exhibition scripts, and photographs of ship models, naval vessels, exhibitions, and staff.

Historical Note
Historical Note
The Division of Naval History was created in 1881 as part of the Section of Historical Collections, later the Division of History, which reported to the Department of Arts and Industries as well as the Department of Anthropology within the United States National Museum until 1938. In 1939, when the Division of History was established and began reporting to the Department of Engineering and Industries, Naval History was transferred to its control. The Division of History became the Department of History in 1949. In 1957, the Division became the Department of Armed Forces History which included the Divisions of Naval History and Military History and came under the supervision of the Museum of History and Technology (MHT).
In 1969, the Department of Armed Forces History became the Department of National and Military History and, in 1978, the Department of National History. In 1980, the Division of Naval History reported to the Department of the History of Science and Technology. The Division of Naval History and the Division of Military History merged in 1985 to form the Division of Armed Forces History.
The main purpose of the Division of Naval History was to trace the historical development of the United States Navy, beginning with maritime operations during the colonial and Revolutionary War period through subsequent years of change leading to the advent of the modern navy. Research mainly focused on United States naval personnel, vessels, weapons, uniforms, insignia, navigational instruments, and flags. The Division was also involved in staff marine archeology, publishing biographies, attending conferences, and collecting maritime artifacts. Curators and staff of the Division included Mendel L. Peterson, Acting Curator, 1958-1960; Philip K. Lundeberg, Associate Curator, 1959-1961, Curator, 1962-1986, and Curator Emeritus, 1987- ; Melvin H. Jackson, Associate Curator, 1962-1965; Harold D. Langley, Curator, 1969- ; and Lee Houchins, Research Associate, 1978-1984.

Notes
SI Records

Using the Collection
Prefered Citation
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 383, National Museum of American History. Division of Armed Forces History, Records

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Drake, Francis, 1540?-1596 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Peterson, Mendel Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lundeberg, Philip K. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Jackson, Melvin H. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Langley, Harold D. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Houchins, Lee Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Naval History Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Hall of Naval History Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Constitution (Frigate) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Philadelphia (Gunboat) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nautilus (Submarine : SS-73) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sperry Gyrocompass Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Constellation (Frigate) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States National Museum. Section of Historical Relics Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Department of Social and Cultural History 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
United States. Navy Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Historical museums Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Military history Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Naval history Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum exhibits Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum curators Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Military museums Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Floor plans Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Manuscripts Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Black-and-white photographs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Illustrations Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

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