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I-O Through the Ages


by Stephany Below, SIOP Communications Manager

SIOP Virtual History Museum Launched

As the field of industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology continues to grow and evolve, it becomes increasingly important to preserve its history for future generations.

A new museum is making it possible for current and future generations to learn about that history—with no admission charge or travel.

Outgoing SIOP Historian Jeffrey Cucina is pleased to announce the launch of the SIOP Virtual History Museum. The purpose of museum is to curate existing historical information on I-O psychology and provide SIOP members and the general public with a starting point to learn more about the field’s history.

“I-O psychology has a rich and fascinating history,” Cucina said. “However, until the virtual museum was created, we did not have a central starting point to learn about it. SIOP is the premiere I-O psychology professional organization; there is no better place to house this museum than on the SIOP website.”

The idea for the museum began a few years ago when current SIOP Program Chair Zack Horn suggested during an Executive Board meeting that Cucina consider posting history content on my.SIOP.

“I had also visited a few museums covering the history of specific occupations—the National Border Patrol Museum in El Paso, Texas, and others,” Cucina explained. “That got me thinking, ‘wouldn’t it be neat if I-O psychology had its own museum? Could we make it virtual so that anyone could visit it without traveling?”’

Cucina has been working on collecting content for the museum for about a year, with assistance from History Committee members Michael Sheppeck and Luke Brooks-Seshsler. Instead of posting the content to my.SIOP, they decided to put it on the SIOP website, where anyone can view it.

“There is a lot of I-O historical information out on the web, on the SIOP website, in TIP, but there is no central repository or site,” Cucina explained. “It takes a lot of digging to find stuff. I wanted to make it easier for SIOP members to learn about our history. I wanted something that a SIOP member could peruse leisurely.”

The museum includes nine sections, referred to as “wings.” The first wing covers the history of SIOP and Division 14 of the American Psychological Association (APA). The second wing contains a portrait gallery of SIOP past presidents. Included in the gallery are links to biographical information on SIOP’s past presidents including Kim Johnson’s new biographies of deceased presidents.

“We had very little biographical information on our website about some of the earlier SIOP presidents,” Cucina added. “In fact, I found that putting a face to many of the names of SIOP’s past leaders was very difficult. We still read about the contributions of individuals like Ghiselli, Bennett, Lawshe, and S. Rains Wallace. However, who were the people behind these names? This is why we created a wing to the museum that includes photographs of every SIOP past president and links to their biographical information.”

Over the years, TIP has published many articles covering the history of I-O psychology. These articles have been organized into the “TIP Library” section of the museum. The library provides information on major I-O figures and events, copies of the TIP “History Corner” articles, and Ed Levine’s edited series on the history of early I-O graduate programs.

Historical information on I-O psychology as a field is contained in three sections—the early, later, and general history wings. These wings include photographs of the Gilbreths (and a link to their time motion videos and stereoscopic photos), information on Hugo Munsterberg (the grandfather of I-O), links to videos of the Hawthorne Studies, a recorded interview of Jack Hunter, and links to the SIOP Living History Series interviews. Also included in the museum are a gallery of the SIOP conference history posters, an updated I-O family tree, and links to other webpages covering the history of psychology.

Cucina said he hopes the museum will help to keep the memories of SIOP and I-O history alive and preserve it for future generations of psychologists.

“A generation or so ago, SIOP was about 40 years old and many of the founders of SIOP were still alive. You could learn about the story of SIOP from more established SIOP members,” Cucina explained. “However, that is becoming more difficult today, as most of the founders are no longer with us. One goal of the virtual museum is to make their stories more accessible.”

“I hope,” he added, “that visitors will learn something new about I-O psychology’s history and the people that helped establish our field.”

Admission to the museum is free and it is open 24/7. Check out the museum here or find it on SIOP.org’s “About Us” page!

You can also read more about the SIOP Virtual Museum in the July issue of TIP!