Page images

Hubby, with similar material previously presented by her, makes our collection of California Indian baskets the most outstanding one in existence, both in the variety of types represented and in the beauty of individual specimens. Valuable and interesting collections of Philippine and western American Indian material were contributed by Gen. R. D. Potts and by the Misses Catherine M. and Isabelle H. Hardie. The National Geographic Society presented valuable ethnological material collected in China by F. R. Wulsin.

For archeological material the Museum was dependent principally on transfers from the Bureau of American Ethnology, which included important collections from mounds near Town Creek, Ala., on the site of the Wilson Dam, Muscle Shoals. Through the interest of Hon. James J. Davis, Secretary of Labor, a Welsh version of the Bible, a reproduction of the original translation published in 1588, was presented by David W. Evans. A large and important collection of skeletal material was donated by the Ohio State Archeological and Historical Society, while unusual interest attaches to the gift by Dr. Eugene Dubois of casts of the remains of Pithecanthropus erectus, and the receipt as exchanges from the British Museum of Natural History, the Zemske Museum, Brno, Moravia, and the American Museum of Natural History of casts of important specimens relating to early man. The National Geographic Society and the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences presented interesting anatomical material relating to the American Indian, and material of a similar nature relating to postpaleolithic man was received as a loan from the Archeological Society of Washington. Hugo Worch added four harpischords of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to his already splendid collection.

Of outstanding interest in biology is the receipt of the collections of Coleoptera and mollusks bequeathed to the Museum by the late Col. Thomas L. Casey of which the insects are estimated at more than 50,000 specimens, representing about 16,000 species, in which 5,000 are types of species described by Colonel Casey himself. Of equal interest are the unusually rich and large zoological and botanical collections from China contributed by the National Geographic Society and collected by Joseph F. Rock and F. R. Wulsin; the material collected and presented by Rev. David C. Graham; and the specimens collected by Arthur deC. Sowerby and presented by Robert S. Clark. Dr. Casey Wood's continued and generous interest resulted in the acquisition of important bird material from Fiji Islands, while Dr. Hugh M. Smith and Dr. S. F. Light contributed interesting and valuable specimens from Siam and China, respectively. Large and important additions to the collections were received through transfers from the Bureaus of Biological Survey

and Entomology of the Department of Agriculture, and from the Bureau of Fisheries of the Department of Commerce. Important additions were also received as the results of collections made by members of our own staff. The Frances Lea Chamberlain Fund enabled the curator of mollusks to purchase some important material.

A notable acquisition to the geological collections was a large ball of flawless rock crystal of rare value and interest 1234 inches in diameter, weighing 107 pounds, which was loaned by the importers, Fukushima Co. (Inc.), through the interest of Worcester R. Warner, of Tarrytown, N. Y. Through the continued interest and activities of Victor C. Heikes and Frank L. Hess, of the United States Geological Survey, many unusual specimens of ores and minerals, a number of which make excellent exhibition pieces, were added to the collections by mining companies and private individuals. Several rare minerals new to the collections were acquired during the year among which may be mentioned a crystal of the new mineral afwillite, discovered by the donor, Alpheus F. Williams, general manager of the De Beers Consolidated Mines, Kimberley, South Africa, and a part of the type of a new species-Chalcoalumite— from Arizona secured through the exchange account with Harvard University. The Frances Lea Chamberlain Fund permitted the purchase of several desirable additions to the collection of gem minerals, and the Roebling Fund, provided by Col. W. A. Roebling, enabled the museum to acquire several specimens of ores needed to fill out the series.

Other valuable and interesting specimens were received from private individuals or firms.

The results of Secretary Walcott's field work for the seasons 1921 to 1924, inclusive, which were deposited in the museum, and specimens secured by members of the staff added important material to the collections in invertebrate paleontology. A large series of slabs containing tracks of extinct animals collected by C. W. Gilmore, under the auspices of the National Park Service on the Hermit Trail in Grand Canyon National Park, are an unusually interesting addition to the fossil vertebrate collections, which also received important additions in bones of Pleistocene mammals from Florida, donated by C. P. Singleton, or collected by Dr. J. W. Gidley. Exchanges with other institutions also resulted in materially increasing the series of fossil animals.

The exhibits in automotive transportation received a number of additions, important ones being a full size, electrically operated automobile engine with portions of the outer casing cut away to reveal the operation of the moving parts, contributed by the Buda

Co., Harvey, Ill., and a full size hand operated planetary transmission presented by Henry Ford, Dearborn, Mich. An original Knox automobile, made in 1900, was donated by Mrs. Lansing Van Auken, Watervliet, N. Y. Important additions were made to the series of calculating and writing machines by the Burroughs Adding Machine Co. and the Corona Typewriter Co., and interesting specimens were contributed by the signal section of the American Railway Association through H. S. Balliet, secretary of the section. The original K-III airplane was presented by James V. Martin, who designed it in 1917 for combat service. Important additions to the series illustrating the development of the incandescent lamp were made by the Edison Lamp Works of the General Electric Co.

American manufacturers who had been instrumental in building up our textile exhibits, continued their interest both in providing new materials and in renewing specimens in the older exhibits. The exhibits illustrating various branches of the rubber industry received important additions including the greater part of the American exhibit at the Sixth International Rubber Exposition held in Brussels in 1924, which was contributed by the Rubber Association of America (Inc.), New York City. An important collection of bird plumage and feather articles representing many thousands of dollars, secured by confiscation from plume hunters, importers, and manufacturers for violations of the Federal laws for the protection of birds, was acquired by transfer from the Biological Survey.

The section of medicine received a number of interesting additions to its public health exhibits, as well as a number of specimens of individual interest, including the medals and decorations conferred on the late Maj. Gen. William C. Gorgas, which were loaned by his widow.

Interesting additions to the graphic arts collections comprised substitutes for boxwood for wood engraving, examples of micro-engraving, bookbinding, prints, examples of fine papers, mezzotints, printing for the blind, and other material. Important contributions were received from various sources for incorporation in the traveling exhibits of this division which have proved extremely popular. The section of photography was enriched by three early forms of Prosch shutters evolved in the course of experiments to automatically control exposures and obviate the use of a lens cap; a view camera of 1890; a reel of historical motion pictures; some remarkable examples of telephoto photographs showing the Sierra Nevada Mountains at a distance of 135 miles, and a number of beautiful examples of pictorial photographs presented by well known experts and experimenters in this line.

The appointment of a curator to devote his whole time to the project resulted in a splendid advance in the Loeb Collection of chemical types, 616 new specimens having been received during the year from a large number of cooperators who have been interested in adding to this collection.

Important additions to the historical collections comprise an unusually interesting series of firearms loaned by Maj. Jerome Clark, United States Army; a dress owned by Martha Washington loaned by Mrs. Wilfred P. Mustard, Baltimore, Md.; many objects owned by the late Lieut. Gen. Nelson A. Miles, contributed by his son, Maj. Sherman Miles, United States Army, and his daughter, Mrs. Samuel Reber, New York City, together with military paraphernalia used by Gen. John J. Pershing and loaned by him. The naval collections received numerous contributions both from private sources and by transfer from the Navy Department, the later comprising a series of models illustrating development in naval vessels from 1776 to 1920. The Treasury Department transferred a number of coins to the numismatic collections which were also enriched by private collectors, a notable example being the loan of some 400 Irish and English coins. A library of about 800 publications relating to numismatics was transferred to the Museum by the Treasury Department. Through transfers from the Post Office Department 5,605 specimens were added to the philatelic collections.

As previously stated, all of the foregoing matters here summarized will be found treated in more detail further along in this volume.


Manifestly it is difficult to express concisely the extent of the Museum's service to the public since its functions in this connection are highly complex and its services diverse. Broadly speaking the Museum is charged with four principal obligations, (1) the care and preservation of the national collections, (including biology, geology, anthropology, history, art, and the industries), (2) the public exhibition of interesting and educational material, (3) research work in naming and classifying material brought to the Museum, and (4) the promotion of knowledge through publication of accounts of the collections based on such research work.

The care of collections is a highly important function since it involves the preservation from destruction of the myriad objects, natural and manufactured, that are housed in the Museum. This and the necessary work in naming and arranging material require constant supervision and a vast amount of labor on the part of highly trained specialists on the staff of curators.

The relation of the National Museum to the general public is divided between two major services. Each year a vast number of persons come to Washington to view the seat of our National Government. For these the National Museum offers properly prepared and labeled exhibits of the most varied nature that serve to entertain, or to educate and improve the mind, according to the mood of the visitor. The total number of visitors recorded for the fiscal year 1925 was more than twice the total population of Washington. The public exhibits are so varied that it is not practicable to enumerate them in entirety. In the halls of anthropology are shown specimens dealing with primitive man and his evolution, in biology are exhibited types of all known forms of life, and in geology and paleontology there may be seen exhibits of minerals, stones, and strange, grotesque fossils, the latter often of forms beyond the imagination of the ordinary individual. Exhibits in arts and industries include display in the manufacture of mineral products, of mechanical devices in locomotion, aviation, lighting, and communication, of textiles, chemistry, foods and medicines, and of graphic arts, as writing, printing, and photography. Exhibits in history include great displays of military and naval objects, with an especially complete exhibit from the World War, of coins, stamps and the many things concerned with the history and development of the United States as a Nation.

In addition to the public exhibits there are stored in the laboratories series of specimens in all branches that are used in serious researches by specialists, American and foreign, in all lines of human knowledge, many of whom come to the Museum for the express purpose of working with these collections. New facts, many of them. of great importance, are the constant outcome of studies made by the staff, or by visiting scientists to whom the collections are made freely available. Hundreds of specimens are forwarded as loans to investigators working at a distance to assist them in their researches.

Studies of the collections, comprising additions to human knowledge, are issued to the public in the publications of the Museum, a service to all of the highest value. It may be safely said that nearly all biological textbooks, encyclopædias, and other similar reference works published in recent years have been based in part upon information emanating from the National Museum. Visitors to the halls of the Museum frequently include groups or classes of students brought here by their instructors to view special exhibits as a basis for or to supplement their regular class work. Personal examination of objects under study is of great and recognized value in impressing on the memory definite images that are

« PreviousContinue »