THE LEGACY OF ANTHROPOLOGY COLLECTIONS CARE AT THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
MICHELE AUSTIN, NATALIE FIRNHABER, LISA GOLDBERG, GRETA HANSEN, & CATHERINE MAGEE
Reconstruction of this history is based on written and verbal sources. Archival evidence in the form of purchase orders, diaries, and letters gives color to the early “work-shop” years within the Institution. A general sense of activities undertaken in later years is provided by annual reports by various personnel within the Department of Anthropology (NAA, Series 20: Records of the Anthropological Laboratory/Anthropology Conservation and Restoration Laboratory, 1913-1973) supplemented by occasional published reports on preservation techniques, letters, memoranda, treatment reports, and other documents. Information for more recent years was obtained from departmental records and personal interviews with past and current staff members. By 1986, annual reports ceased to exist, and information for this paper was culled from oral histories, project lists, and published articles. The information is variable in its quality and quantity because it relies on an incomplete historical record, reconstructed from Smithsonian archives, office files, and personal recollections.