The NAA is a host site for the Breath of Life Archival Institute for Indigenous Languages, which helps Native Americans involved in language revitalization learn about language documentation and connect with language resources in archives. Some 50 to 70 participants will be able to choose from over 5,000 language manuscripts in the NAA documenting hundreds of Native American languages.
The NAA Digitization Lab is digitizing some 6,000 pages of Iroquoian language materials for the Six Nations of Canada. This material was collected by J.N.B. Hewitt, a Smithsonian anthropologist and himself a Tuscarora.
Web exhibition on the Jorge Preloran Collection.
Smithsonian Collections Blog
To learn what’s new in the NAA, as well as the wider Smithsonian archival community, check out the Smithsonian Collections Blog.
National Anthropological Archives awarded $1 million grant to digitize materials
The National Anthropological Archives (NAA) has received a $1 million grant from the Arcadia Fund to launch the first two years of a long-term project to digitize endangered-language materials currently housed in the NAA. As many of you know from first-hand experience, the materials found in this archive preserve an unparalleled collection of primary sources for investigating endangered cultures and languages, indigenous environmental knowledge and the connections between these subjects. The project will be implemented by the National Anthropological Archives Program working in collaboration with the Recovering Voices Program on development of outreach.
Through this project, the team will digitize its entire collection of ethnographic sound recordings, estimated at 3,000 hours, as well as 35,000 pages of manuscript materials, using techniques that will make these electronic sources readily available to the public through the Smithsonian’s online and openly accessible catalog system. The project team plans to create digital surrogates of voice recordings and paper documents in the NAA, and make them publicly available to support researchers and communities seeking to research, document and revitalize indigenous languages and cultures. Online access will make the material widely available for use without damage to the historic originals.
National Anthropological Archives needs your help with a new transcription project
Be a smithsonian transcription volunteer! Help us transcribe a number of materials and support our commitment to make our collections digitally accessible. For more information visit: https://transcription.si.edu/
Suzanne and Walter Scott Foundation award supports rapid capture digitization
The National Museum of Natural History implemented a pilot project to develop rapid capture methods for digitizing its collections and research holdings. During the two-year pilot from 2011 to 2013, the NAA collaborated with partners to develop high-speed digitization techniques, procedures and workflows for two-dimensional materials that can be utilized extensively by the National Museum of Natural History and help to inform and establish best practices for the wider Smithsonian community.
Accessing Anthropology: The Collections and Archives Program at the Department of Anthropology
Navigating the records of the Department of Anthropology’s three collecting units - the National Anthropological Archives, the Human Studies Film Archives, and the museum collections - can be confusing. The Accessing Anthropology Web Portal can help researchers discover new materials and new relationships among collection items. Visit; explore; enjoy.
Papers of Brent and Elois Ann Berlin
The National Anthropological Archives is pleased to announce an agreement to accept the papers of Brent Berlin and Elois Ann Berlin. B. Berlin, a seminal figure in the development of cognitive anthropology, and E.A. Berlin, a medical anthropologist, collaborated on many ethnobotanical projects, principally among Mayan-speaking people of Highland Chiapas. Their extensive papers, including photographic and sound materials, will join the 25,000 botanical voucher specimens already donated to the Smithsonian’s Department of Botany. Together, the Berlins’ material is an important record of endangered indigenous language and knowledge.
Papers of Marvin Harris
The papers of Marvin Harris are now available to researchers at the National Anthropological Archives. Harris (1927 – 2001) was influential in developing cultural materialism, a scientific research strategy used to explain sociocultural phenomena. He authored several books, including Patterns of Race in the Americas (1964), The Rise of Anthropological Theory (1968), Cows, Pigs, Wars and Witches (1974), and Cannibals and Kings (1977). His papers were processed with the support of a Wenner-Gren Foundation Historical Archives Program grant awarded to David Price.
Margaret Contant Blaker (1924-2008) by Paula Richardson Fleming, Raymond J. DeMallie, Carol Mahler and Joanna Cohan Scherer
Publication date: March 2011