Smithsonian: A National Museum of American History Blog Post Looks at “Collecting in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina”
Late curator David Shayt of the museum’s Work and Industry division once said, “All museum work in one form or another is digging in the dirt. We dig in the dirt of old factories to find old machines and blue prints. We dig in musty film vaults to find old films. . . . It’s a process of digging, and searching, and looking for the unknown, the unexpected.”
So when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in August 2005, Shayt said it was “a natural response for me to take interest . . . thinking about ways of preserving what quickly became a national tragedy, not just a local or regional event but one with truly national scope. And that’s why we got involved.”
For the tenth anniversary of the devastating hurricane, listen to an interview with Shayt in our History Explorer podcast. You’ll find out why the museum responded by collecting objects and learn about a few of the things Shayt and his team collected. (Educators, there’s also a teacher guide to help you share the interview with your students.)
The complete blog post includes several images and concludes with links to see and learn more about objects from the museum’s Hurricane Katrina collection online.
Other objects collected in the wake of Hurricane Katrina can be found in our online collections database. Photographer Hugh Talman spoke about his experience photographing the devastation in a video by Folkways Magazine.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.