Even to Smithsonian employees, this can be a daunting place--some 6,000 employees, 19 museums, 9 research centers, and 130 million collections. There's a lot of information at SI, and much of it can't be found anywhere else. Opportunities for true discoveries abound here, but how do you scratch through all the layers and find the resources that you need?
First, approach your computer with a plan. Are you looking for general information or are you hunkering down to do hard research?
For the basics, a good place to start is a museum's website. If, for example, you'd like to find out about Woodrow Wilson's presidential administration, go to the National Museum of American History, and type his name into the search box. Or, maybe, you'd like to know about butterflies. The National Museum of Natural History offers a delicious smorgasbord of butterfly facts.
On the other hand, if you're looking for 19th-century trade catalogues or are doing other research-oriented searches, you need to go directly to the Smithsonian's information hot spots:
- Guide to the Smithsonian's Archives, Library, and Special Collections
- Smithsonian's general research catalogue
Great for historians and art historians:
- Archives of American Art's collections online
- American portraits catalogue from the National Portrait Gallery
- SI's photography holdings
- Museum conservation of objects
- National anthropological archives
Resources for teachers and students:
Scientific research sites: