President Garfield’s Inaugural Ball was the last held at the Smithsonian Institution until 1969.
In the 1960’s the Smithsonian Institution grew at a rapid pace.
New museums were built and old museums were renovated.
With more space and a new push for community outreach, in 1969,
after a long absence from hosting, President Richard M. Nixon attended
a ball at the National Museum of History and Technology.



1969

1973

 

President Nixon at the 1969 Inaugural Ball
Smithsonian Institution Archives

The National Museum of History and Technology, now known as the National Museum of American History, hosted one of President Nixon’s Inaugural Balls on January 20, 1969. Guests arrived at the museum and waited in line to enter the reception and catch a glimpse of the new President. Surrounded by pieces of American history, such as the Star Spangled Banner, guests helped re-introduce Inaugural Balls to the Smithsonian.

 

 

 

 

Smithsonian Institution Archives

President Nixon at the 1969 Inaugural Ball
Smithsonian Institution Archives

In 1973 President Nixon returned to the National Museum of History and Technology for an inaugural celebration. While guest danced the night away, a chicken escaped from the American Farm Life exhibit and interrupted the ball. Smithsonian Secretary S. Dillon Ripley came to the rescue and captured the chicken. After the excitement guests returned to the music and listened to speeches by both President Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew.

 

 

 

All images are from the Smithsonian Institution Archives

 

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