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U.S. National Museum Decorated for Garfield Inaugural Ball, by Unknown, 1881, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, MAH66045 or 66045.

March 4, 1881

The reception and ball to celebrate the inauguration of President James A. Garfield is held in the unfinished U.S. National Museum building, now the Arts and Industries Building. The Board of Regents authorizes use of the building with the stipulation that no precedent is to be given for the use of the building for other purposes. Under the direction of a citizens' committee, a temporary wooden floor is laid in each of the ground-level rooms, ten thousand bins for hats, coats, and wraps are erected, and some three thousand gas burners are introduced. For the occasion, two electric lights are suspended in the Rotunda and several are erected outside along with calcium lights throughout the grounds. About seven thousand people attend the celebration.More

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