A. Gilbert Wright Interviews,
1983

Summary
Collection ID:
Record Unit 9523
Creators:
Wright, A. Gilbert, (Arthur Gilbert), 1909- interviewee
Dates:
1983
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
9 audiotapes (reference copies).
Repository:
Smithsonian Institution Archives

Introduction
Introduction
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 conduct 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.
Wright was interviewed for the Oral History Collection because of his long and wide-ranging experience in the museum field.

Descriptive Entry
Descriptive Entry
Wright was interviewed by Pamela M. Henson on five occasions between May and November of 1983. The interviews cover Wright's youth; early interests in museums, natural history, and taxidermy; his education; museum career at the Illinois State Museum, Peabody Museum of Natural History, Florida State Museum, National Park Service, and Smithsonian Institution; internship at the Buffalo Museum of Science; teaching at George Washington University; reminiscences of colleagues such as Arthur Sterry Coggeshall, Ralph H. Lewis, Alexander Wetmore, and John E. Anglim; and his publications and professional activities.

Historical Note
Historical Note
A. Gilbert Wright (1909-1987), was a zoologist and exhibits curator, with diverse interests in natural history, exhibits preparation, and writing. Born in Carthage, Illinois, in 1909, Wright developed an interest in natural history, taxidermy, and museum curatorship in his youth. After receiving a B.A. in biology from Carthage College in 1932, he was appointed Zoologist at the Illinois State Museum (ISM) in 1933. Wright gained broad museum experience as a Rockefeller Foundation intern at the Buffalo Museum of Science in 1937-1938. During his ISM tenure, he published two volumes, The Illinois State Museum, Guide to Exhibits, and Common Illinois Insects. He received the M.S. degree in zoology from the University of Illinois at Urbana in 1946. Wright served briefly as Chief of the School Service Department of the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale in 1947-1948. In 1953 he left the ISM to accept a position as Curator of Exhibits at the Florida State Museum (FSM) in Gainesville. During the fifties, Wright prepared exhibits for the main FSM building, a "museumobile," and historical site museums throughout the state. In 1961, Wright was appointed Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis. The project was abruptly terminated in 1963 due to cost overruns for the Gateway Arch. Wright then joined the staff of the Office of Exhibits Programs at the Smithsonian Institution, as Assistant Chief with responsibilities for planning exhibits renovation in the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). In 1971-1972 Wright was Assistant to the Director of the NMNH for exhibits planning and during this time developed the Insect Zoo. When the Office of Exhibits was reorganized in 1972, Wright became a writer/editor in the Office of the Exhibits Editor until his retirement in 1975.
In the early 1970s, Wright began teaching courses in museology at George Washington University. After his retirement, he directed their new Museum Studies Program until 1978. Throughout his career, Wright was an active member of the American Association of Museums and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Notes
Oral Histories

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9523, Wright, A. Gilbert, (Arthur Gilbert), 1909- interviewee, A. Gilbert Wright Interviews

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Wright, A. Gilbert (Arthur Gilbert), 1909- Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Coggeshall, Arthur Sterry. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Anglim, John E. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wetmore, Alexander, 1886-1978 Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lewis, Ralph Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Florida State Museum Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Office of Exhibits Programs (NMNH) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of Natural History. Assistant to the Director for Exhibits Planning. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Exhibits Editor's Office (NMNH) Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
George Washington University. Museum Studies Program. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum Studies Program. George Washington University. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Illinois State Museum Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States. National Park Service Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Entomology Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum techniques Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Zoology Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum curators -- Interviews Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Henson, Pamela M. interviewer. Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Interviews Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Audiotapes Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Oral history Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

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