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 conducts 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.
Multhauf was interviewed for the Oral History Project because he made significant scholarly and administrative contributions to the Smithsonian during his career.
Multhauf was interviewed on May 29 and July 23, 1974, by Miriam S. Freilicher and Pamela M. Henson. The interviews cover his education, career as Curator of Engineering, work on the development of the National Museum of History and Technology, and his role as an administrator in the Museum. They include reminiscences of colleagues such as Leonard Carmichael, Howard I. Chapelle, and Frank A. Taylor.
Robert P. Multhauf (1919-2004), a historian of science, received his Ph.D. in 1953 from the University of California at Berkeley. After postdoctoral work at The Johns Hopkins University, he was appointed Curator of Engineering at the U.S. National Museum in 1955. In 1957, he was appointed head Curator of the Department of Science and Technology. From 1966 to 1969, Multhauf served as Director of the new National Museum of History and Technology, now the National Museum of American History, and in 1969 he was appointed Senior Historian of Science. Multhauf also served as editor of Isis from 1964 to 1978.
Smithsonian Institution Archives
Contact us at email@example.com