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Every Collection has a StoryThe Archives holds records that document the Smithsonian’s people, events, buildings, and research. The history of the Smithsonian is a vital part of the history of American experience, scientific exploration, and international cultural understanding.

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Today in Smithsonian History

Baird Auditorium, Natural History Building, by Unknown, 1911, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, 2002-12145.

December 24, 1949

The first Smithsonian Christmas Party is held. An aid in archaeology, Bob Jenkins, arranges for a program to be held at noon on Christmas Eve in the auditorium of the Natural History Building. Although it is initially planned only for the employees of that building, all Smithsonian staff are invited. Charles Terry, aid in archeology, reads the Christmas story and employees sing carols. Secretary Emeritus Charles G. Abbot plays a cello solo accompanied on the piano by Loyal Aldrich, retired director, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.More

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