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Full text of " Report on the progress and condition of the U. National Museum for the year ending June C, October 22, Sir : I have the honor to submit herewith a report upon the present condition of the United States National Museum and upon the work accomplished in its various departments during the fiscal year ending June 30, Chakles D. Waxcott, Secretary, Smithsonian Institution.
National Museum. The Congress of the United States in the act of August 10,founding the Smithsonian Institution recognized that an opportunity was afforded, in carrying out the large-minded de of Smithson, to provide for the custody of the museum of the Nation. To this new establishment was therefore intrusted the care of the national collections, a course that time has fully justified.
The museum idea was inherent in the establishment of the Smith- sonian Institution, which in its turn was based upon a 10 years' dis- cussion in Congress and the advice of the most distinguished scien- tific men, educators, and intellectual leaders of the Nation of TO years ago. States," thus stamping the Museum at the very outset as one of the widest range and at the same time as the Museum of the United States. It was also appreciated that additions would be necessary to the collections then in existence, and provision was made for their increase by the exchange of duplicate specimens, by donations, and by other means.
If the wisdom of Congress in so fully providing for a museum in the Smithsonian law challenges attention, the interpretation put upon this law by the Board of Eegents within less than six months from the passage of the act can not but command admiration. In the early part of September,the Eegents took steps toward formu- lating a plan of operations. The report of the committee appointed for this purpose, submitted in December and January following, shows a thorough consideration of the subject in both the spirit and letter of the law.
This would supply oppor- tunity to examine samples of the best manufactured articles our country affords, and to judge her gradual progress in arts and manu- factures. Your committee also think that, as the collection of paintings and sculpture will probably accumulate slowly, the room destined for a gallery of art might properly and usefully meanwhile be occupied during the sessions of Congress as an exhibition room for the works of artists generally; and the extent and general usefulness of such an exhibit might probably be increased if an arrangement could be effected with the Academy of De, the Arts Union, the Artists' Fund Society, and other associations of similar character, so as to concentrate at the metropolis for a certain portion of each winter the best of talent in the fine arts.
In the resolutions which were adopted upon the presentation of the report, a museum was mentioned as " one of the principal modes of executing the act and trust. Smithson, Casual Hook Ups Athol SouthDakota 57424 expressed in his will, that one of the principal modes of executing the act and the trust is the accumulation of collections of specimens and objects of natural history and of elegant art, and the gradual formation of a library of valuable works pertaining to all departments of human knowledge, to the end that a copious storehouse of materials of science, literature, and art may be provided which shall excite and diffuse the love of learning among men, and shall assist the original investigations and efforts of those who may devote themselves to Casual Hook Ups Athol SouthDakota 57424 pursuit of any branch of knowledge.
Since that early day the only material change in the scope of the Government Museum has been the addition of a department of American history, intended to illustrate by an appropriate assem- blage of objects the lives of distinguished personages, important events, and the domestic life of the country from the colonial period to the present time. The development of the Museum has been greatest in those sub- jects which the conditions of the past 64 years have made most fruit- ful—the natural history, geology, ethnology, and archeology of the United States, supplemented by many collections from other coun- tries.
The opportunities for acquisition in these directions have been mainly brought about through the activities of the scientific and economic surveys of the Government, many of which are the direct outgrowths of earlier explorations, stimulated or directed by the Smithsonian Institution.
The Centennial Exhibition of af- forded the first opportunity for establishing a department of the industrial arts, of which the fullest advantage was taken, but the department or gallery of the fine arts made little progress, though not from lack of desire or appreciation, until nine years ago, when circumstances led to its definite recognition. While it is the primary duty of a museum to preserve the objects confided to its care, as it is that of a library to preserve its books and manuscripts, yet the importance of public collections rests not upon the mere basis of custodianship nor upon the of speci- mens assembled and their money value, but upon the use to which they are put.
Judged by this standard, the National Museum may claim to have reached a high state of efficiency.
In its well-deed cases, in which every detail of structure, appointment, and color is considered, a selection of representative objects is placed on view to the public, all being carefully labeled individually and in groups. The child as well as the adult has been provided for and the kindergarten pupil and the high-school scholar can be seen here supplementing their class-room games or studies.
Nor has the elementary or even the higher education been by any means the sole gainer from the work of the Museum. To advance knowledge, to gradually extend the boundaries of learning, has been one of the gTeat tasks to which the Museum, in consonance with the spirit of the Institution, has set itself from the first.
Its staff, though chiefly engaged in the duties incident to the care, classifica- tion, and labeling of collections in order that they may be accessible to the public and to students, has yet in these operations made im- portant discoveries in every department of the Museum's activities, which have in turn been communicated to other scholars through its numerous publications. But the collections have not been held for the study of the staff nor for the scientific advancement of those be- longing to the establishment.
When it is pos- sible to so arrange, the investigator comes to Washington ; otherwise such collections as he needs are sent to him, whether he resides in this country or abroad. In this manner practically every prominent specialist throughout the world interested in the subjects here well represented has had some use of the collections and thereby the Na- tional Museum has come to be recognized as a conspicuous factor in the advancement of knowledge wherever civilization has a foothold.
The national collections originated in the extremely rich and varied series of specimens obtained during the four years' cruise of the United States Exploring Expedition, from towhich, with many other objects, were exhibited in the great hall of the Patent Office for nearly two decades.
In the Smithsonian Institution commenced to assemble material for investigation, in- augurating and cooperating in explorations for this purpose, chiefly in connection with Government surveys, but it was not until that the two collections were brought together under the perpetual custody of the Institution, in accordance with the terms of its foundation. The Smithsonian building had only recently been com- pleted, which was partly responsible for this delay, and in this structure the main hall was allotted to the display of specimens, the basement furnishing quarters for laboratories and for the storage of study series.
At the end of 20 years, however, practically the entire building with the exception of its eastern wing had not only passed to the use of the Museum but had become greatly overcrowded. Up to this time the collections had related almost wholly to natural history and anthropology. The first of the buildings erected for purely museum purposes, a necessity forced upon the Government by the extensive donations received at the Centennial Exhibition ofwas made ready for occupation in The nature of the collections afl'orded by this Exhibition, and of others elsewhere obtained, rendered possible the organization of several divisions of the industrial arts, as already intimated and as deed by the first board of regents, to which was added a department of American history.
The development of these branches was soon largely checked, however, and some of the more important were temporarily abandoned, because of the overflow of natural history and anthropological material from the Smithsonian building. Nearly 30 years more elapsed before relief was again secured through the building of the superb granite structure on the northern side of the Mall.
Deed for the departments of biology, geology, and anthropology, and wholly required for their collections and activities, it has still been necessary to provisionally as a certain amount of space to other purposes, as, for instance, to the National Gallery of Art. Already filling to the extreme limit the area that can be granted it, the National Gallery of Art is greatly in need of an appropriate and adequate home, and, unless this be shortly provided it may be ex- pected that benefactors will cease to regard it with favor, as some have in the past, because of inability to take care of extensive collec- tions.
In view of one of the very first mandates of the fundamental act, that ample provision be made for a gallery of art, it is hoped that a satisfactory solution of this problem may soon be reached. While on this subject it is j leasing to note that Mr. Charles L. Freer has made progress with his plans for housing at his expense the rich collection of American and oriental art of which he has made a present to the people of the United States.
This structure, to be of white marble and belong to the cluster of Museum buildmgs, is de- ed solely for the above purpose, however, and will afford no accommodations for other parts of the Gallery. With the broad subject of natural history provided for in the granite building, the two other buildings become wholly available for the arts and industries, with a single exception. The division of plants, including the National Herbarium, has been given possession of the upper story of the main section of the Smithsonian building, a hall feet long by 50 feet wide, with some connecting rooms.
This important branch has thus far been well accommodated in these quarters, but it is not expected to be so for long, as the collections are growing rapidly and the work is of great economic importance, es- pecially in its relations to the Department of Agi-iculture, of whose botanical materials it is the custodian. In other countries the na- tional herbarium is given great prominence, yet nowhere else is its ificance as great as in this country.
On the ground floor of the Smithsonian building are three principal subdivisions of space, the great main hall, the western hall and the connecting range. All of these have been ased to the exhibition of the graphic arts, but owing to the renovation of the main hall, still in progress, the collections relating to this subject have been placed in some disorder. Under this heading are included not only the higher grades of engraving, printing and binding, but also all processes of reproduction down to the methods of rapid illustration resorted to by the newspapers of to-day.
Most prominent and most popular is the historical collection to which access is first gained from the main entrance. The memorial section, which occupies two halls, has been steadily increasing in importance and comprehensiveness for a long period. A recent addition has been a section of historical costumes, and also now for the first time have the extensive series of coins, medals and postal tokens been fully installed. While consisting mainly of loans, the exquisite assemblage of laces and other art textiles has come to be regarded as a permanent feature, and, in fact, it contains possessions of the Museum, especially in laces, of considerable variety and value.
In what is called the ceramic gallery is displayed a large quantity of pottery, together with glass- ware, ivories, bronzes, lacquers, etc. Ading is the exhibition of medicines, magic, psychic, and abo- riginal, as well as those recognized in modern pharmacology, form- ing an interesting object lesson for the public, though more impor- tant is the reserve collection of thoroughly identified drugs and drug plants of the world.
Also installed in this building is the general and varied collection of musical instruments, and the unrivaled rep- resentation of the history of photography, in which the appliances and of all periods are fully and well shown. Close by is another collection which is probably unsurpassed in this country — a remarkably rich assemblage of the objects of religious ceremonial, of wide range in its illustration and of great educational value.
In other direc- tions, however, through lack of means, it has been impossible to make any appreciable advancement, and for the same reasons and because of inadequate space it has been equally impossible to display or other- wise utilize all of this rather heterogeneous combination to the fullest advantage of the public. In electricity there is a very extensive representation of the history of the telegraph, including the oceanic cables, of the telephone, of the phonograph, etc. Among measuring devices, watch movements are especially to be noted.
The earliest successful experiments with the aero- drome are most effectively represented by examples of the Langley model forms which made actual flights, and by the first aeroplane purchased and used by any government. In marine the primitive and early stages are well shown, as are also the beginnings of the use of steam and the development of sailing craft in this country down to a period of some 30 years ago.
But the above fails to give anything like an adequate idea of the variety of invention in all the various fields covered by human ingenuity Casual Hook Ups Athol SouthDakota 57424 are demon- strated by the collections of the division. Among the recently reorganized divisions are those of textiles and mineral technology, which are being built up on entirely new lines.
For the former much of the material which had been in storage was found to be not only still presentable, but also of much historical ificance. For the latter there was practically nothing from the old collections that could be used. Under the division of textiles have likewise been included, whether temporarily or permanently future circumstances will determine, several of the most important of the world's industries, having more or less close relations with the main subject from the nature of the substances involved, con- sisting of such animal and vegetable products as are not Casual Hook Ups Athol SouthDakota 57424 asable elsewhere in the Museum classification.
Wood technology is one of these, offering a very wide field for educational presenta- tion. Foodstuff's, which result from and give rise to the greatest of all industries, form another, and after these come miscellaneous products, such as skins, furs, feathers, ivory and bone, pearl and sponges, in endless and variety. In the first of these divisions attention has thus far been almost wholly directed to the develop- ment of the textile collections which are already very rich in manu- factured, and to some extent in hand made, products in every line and in every character of fiber, both native and foreign.
It is the purpose to show the origin of the natural products, as the making of the silk cocoon, the growth of cotton and the taking of wool from the sheep, and thence to demonstrate each step in the process of spin- ning, weaving, coloring and decorating down to the finished fabric, and even to the garment ready for wear and utilization in other ways.
The section of wood technology was only organized near the close of last year. Though comprehended in the former division of for- estry, very little material of public or even technical interest had been assembled. The action which the Museum is now taking toward bringing this subject to the front has been strongly advocated by the leading industrial journals for some years and has the support of prominent producers and users of wood throughout the country.
The development of the collection will extend to all features of prac- tical ificance pertaining to the industry. The first principal step is in the direction of securing a representation of all kinds of woods obtainable in this country and abroad that are useful for any pur- pose from the most humble to the most refined, the same to be sur- face finished in the several ways appropriate to each.
It is promised that the current year will show marked progress with the series. Besides these samples, there are to be gathered illustrations of the various purposes to which wood is put, its miscellaneous products and extracts, manufacturing processes, etc. With regard to miscellaneous animal and vegetable products very little progress has been made beyond installing such of the former collections as were found in good condition, though in a few subjects some important materials have been added.
The old collection of foods had so deteriorated in storage that only a small part can be used, except in the matter of Indian foods, which could not be re- placed, and which Casual Hook Ups Athol SouthDakota 57424, fortunately, mainly preserved. In mineral technology, the former collection of metallurgical prod- ucts has given place to an entirely new scheme of presentation of the great industries which are covered by this division.
The minerals and ores in all their varieties are included in the department of geology in the new building and are not duplicated here except where necessary to specifically illustrate an industrial process or feature. As will be realized, this plan must chiefly be carried out by means of models, occupying the bulk of the exhibition space and constituting a series of features so strik- ing and so replete with novelties as to furnish a most effective object lesson not only for the casual visitor but for the student and expert as well.
The installations so far made indicate the great possibilities of the future in teaching, as clearly and truthfully as is possible within the limited compass of a museum, the varied activities attend- ant upon the preparation of mineral substances for Casual Hook Ups Athol SouthDakota 57424 use of man. The main details of the entire plan were outlined in advance, and though only started within a short time, the work has gone forward so rapidly that a large of the prominent exhibits are already completed and placed.
These have served to so arouse the interest and secure the aid of mining and manufacturing companies that still greater progress may be expected hereafter. Besides the collections, the division is assembling the informa- tion necessary for the preparation of descriptive s of the several mineral industries, which cannot fail to be of great service in technological teaching.
As explained in reports, both the roofs and skylights on the new building developed serious and extensive defects which were first observed at an early date, and much work has been done from time to time toward remedying these conditions.Casual Hook Ups Athol SouthDakota 57424
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