.: Expeditions and Exploration
Since its establishment in 1846, the collections and research of the Smithsonian Institution have been enriched by many historic expeditions. The Smithsonian Institution Libraries presents here facsimile editions of important printed works about expeditions, as well as critical or annotated compendia of expedition source documents such as journals, fieldnotes, maps, photographs and even film footage.
Currently two online Smithsonian Institution Libraries Expeditions publications are available; others are in development:
This online publication, By Aeroplane to Pygmyland: Revisiting the 1926 Dutch and American Expedition to New Guinea, aims to "revisit" a historically important scientific expedition from today's perspective of 80 years later. It does this through interpretive essays accompanied by the publication, for the first time, of two expedition diaries by the American participants and a wealth of additional expedition records that had never before been published, including over 700 original photographs and about two hours of original film footage, in an annotated and inter-connected multimedia format allowing comparison among multiple sources.
In one very important way, the work of the United States Exploring Expedition was only beginning when the ships returned to Washington after almost four years at sea. In addition to Captain Wilkes himself who recorded ocean and weather data and surveyed island groups and coastlines, the Expedition had carried a civilian group of scientists who had collected specimens, artifacts, and observations through the whole voyage. Called the "scientific corps," or just the "scientifics," they were Horatio Hale, ethnographer & linguist; Charles Pickering and Titian R. Peale, naturalists; J.P. Couthouy, conchologist; James D. Dana, mineralogist; William Rich and William D. Brackenridge, botanists; and Alfred T. Agate and Joseph Drayton, artists.