Dr. Herman Viola

Dr. Herman Viola

Dr. Viola, a specialist on the history of the American West, fills the vacancy created by the term expiration of Professor Michael Ross, the member specially qualified by virtue of his education, training, or experience in American history. Dr. Viola will serve a four-year term.

Dr. Viola is a curator emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution. Prior to his retirement in 1994, he was director of Quincentenary Programs at the National Museum of Natural History. During his tenure, he organized two major exhibitions: "Magnificent Voyagers," which told the story of the U.S. Exploring Expedition that was conducted from 1838 to 1842, and "Seeds of Change," which focused on the exchange of plants, animals, and diseases between the Old and the New Worlds as a result of the Christopher Columbus voyages.

His professional career also includes serving as Director of the Smithsonian's National Anthropological Archives, where he initiated the Native American Culture Resources Training Program, the Smithsonian's first internship program for American Indians. Prior to joining the staff of the Smithsonian Institution, he was a staff member at the National Archives of the United States, where he launched the prize-winning quarterly Prologue: The Journal of the National Archives. He also served as an archivist for the National Historical Records and Publications Commission.

Dr. Viola has been a consultant to numerous museums and educational organizations, and was also an active educator, having taught at several universities. A published author, his most important publications include Exploring the West, After Columbus, Warrior Artists, and The North American Indians. He also authored Why We Remember, a middle school social studies textbook.

Dr. Viola received his Ph.D. in American history from Indiana University and his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Marquette University. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and has received numerous professional and scholarly awards, including a Merit Award from Marquette University and an honorary doctor of letters degree from Wittenberg University.