C. Malcolm Watkins Interviews,
1992, 1994-1995

Summary
Collection ID:
Record Unit 9586
Creators:
Watkins, C. Malcolm interviewee
Dates:
1992, 1994-1995
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
15 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 student on topics related to the history of the Smithsonian or the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
C. Malcolm Watkins was interviewed for the Oral History Collection because of his long and distinguished career as curator in the Department of Cultural History, National Museum of American History, and his pioneering role in fields like historical archeology and material culture studies.

Descriptive Entry
Descriptive Entry
These interviews of Watkins by Pamela M. Henson, Historian for Smithsonian Institution Archives, and Susan H. Myers, Curator of Ceramics and Glass at the National Museum of American History, discuss his family, youth, and education; first job at Wells Historical Museum; curatorial career in the Division of Ethnology and Department of Cultural History; contributions to exhibits; research interests; role in the development of the fields of material culture studies and historical archeology; and reminiscences of such colleagues as Edna Greenwood, Herbert W. Krieger, Frank A. Taylor, George H. Watson, and Albert Wells.
This collection is comprised of eight interview sessions, totaling approximately 13.0 hours of recordings and 235 pages of transcript. There are two generations of tape for each session: original tapes and reference tapes. In total, this collection is comprised of 17 original 7" reel-to-reel audiotapes, 5 original audiotape cassettes, and 15 reference copy audiotape cassettes.

Historical Note
Historical Note
C. Malcolm Watkins (1911-2001), cultural historian, developed an early interest in American material culture through his parents, Charles H. and Lura Woodside Watkins, who collected glass and pottery. Watkins received the B.S. from Harvard College in 1934 and began his museum career as Curator for the Wells Historical Museum, predecessor of Old Sturbridge Village, in Massachusetts. In 1949, he was appointed Associate Curator in the Division of Ethnology, United States National Museum (USNM), where he was responsible for the collections documenting American technology and decorative arts. When a separate National Museum of History and Technology (NMHT) was created in 1958, Watkins assumed responsibility for a new Division of Cultural History in the Department of Civil History. In 1969, a separate Department of Cultural History was established, with Watkins as Chairman. In 1973, he was named Senior Curator in the Department, a position he held until his retirement in 1980; he continued his research as Curator Emeritus until 1984. In 1980, the National Museum of History and Technology was renamed the National Museum of American History (NMAH).
During his career at the USNM and NMHT, Watkins worked on numerous exhibits, including the Hall of Everyday Life in the American Past, Growth of the United States, and A Nation of Nations. He was responsible for the acquisition of many significant collections, including the Arthur and Edna Greenwood Collection of Americana, the Remensnyder Collection of American Stoneware, and the Morgenstern Collection of early American material culture. His major research projects included the Marlborough and Jamestown, Virginia, archeological sites, North Devon pottery export to America, and early California history. Watkins was a pioneer in the fields of material culture studies and historical archeology.

Notes
Oral Histories

Using the Collection
Prefered Citation
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9586, C. Malcolm Watkins Interviews
Use Restriction
Restricted.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Watkins, C. Malcolm Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Greenwood, Edna Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Krieger, Herbert W. (Herbert William), 1889- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Taylor, Frank A. (Frank Augustus), 1903-2007 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Watson, George H. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wells, Albert Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Watkins, Charles H. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Watkins, Lura Woodside Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Henson, Pamela M. interviewer Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Myers, Susan H. interviewer Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wells Historical Museum (Sturbridge, Massachusetts) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Division of Cultural History (NMHT) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Department of Cultural History (NMHT) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States National Museum Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of History and Technology Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hall of Everyday Life in the American Past Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Arthur and Edna Greenwood Collection of Americana Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Remensnyder Collection of American Stoneware Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Morgenstern Collection Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Division of Ethnology (USNM) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Growth of the United States (Exhibition) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
A Nation of Nations (Exhibition) (1976: Washington, D.C.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
History Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
History of science and technology Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Exhibitions Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Archaeology -- History Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum curators -- Interviews Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Anthropology Topic 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