NOAA Donates Hurricane Katrina Materials to Smithsonian Collection

June 13, 2006
In a special ceremony today the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History received a donation of Hurricane Katrina-related materials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This donation includes a dropwindsonde—a scientific instrument used to accurately measure and track tropical storm conditions, as well as replicas of maps and in-depth weather charts used by hurricane specialists. The museum will also receive a copy of the urgent weather message compiled and issued by NOAA on Aug. 28, 2005, the day before the storm hit the Gulf region, accurately predicting the catastrophe and its aftermath. These objects will join a recently established permanent collection of Hurricane Katrina related materials documenting this natural disaster. The museum is working to build this collection by focusing on objects and photographs that reflect specific aspects of Hurricane Katrina’s impact along the Gulf Coast, the rescue and recovery, and the long-term effects on local communities and the nation. “By preserving these objects, we will help historians of the future to understand this natural disaster and the detrimental affects of its aftermath on the nation,” said Brent Glass, director of the National Museum of American History. “The NOAA team played an especially important role in this historical national event and I am pleased that these objects will be preserved for the future as part of the national collections at the Smithsonian,” said retired Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, U.S. Air Force, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation’s coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects. The National Museum of American History collects preserves and displays American heritage through exhibitions and public programs about social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. Documenting the American experience from Colonial times to the present, the museum looks at growth and change in the United States. The museum, located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W., is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. through Sept. 4. The museum will close for major renovations beginning Sept. 5. Admission is free. For more information, visit the museum’s Web site at or call (202) 633-1000, (202) 357-1729 (TTY).