When I'm walking around the National Mall, I often hear people exclaim, "There's the Smithsonian!" as they point to the large red Smithsonian Castle near the Metro exit; something I also would have assumed before my first visit to the Mall. But having worked here for 5 years and mastering the acronyms that identify the 19 museums, 9 research centers, the National Zoo, 20 libraries, and multiple archives, I have to repress the urge to explain all of these intricacies to unassuming tourists unless, of course, they're lost.
Well, today was a day to remember in Smithsonian history. Imagine trying to gather the staff from the numerous Smithsonian divisions for a group photo! It was no simple feat. There were multiple cranes with photographers and volunteer staff directing us on how to form the signature Smithsonian sunburst logo. According to Smithsonian Historian, Pam Henson, this is likely the first attempt at making a comprehensive staff photo. We were even able to include staff members from the Tropical Research Institute in Panama and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts who were in D.C. to talk about what they do at the 2010 Folklife Festival. Most certainly a "first," there were photographers on-hand to capture the moment in 3-D.
An update! Here is the result of the gathering which included over 4,000 staff, interns, fellows and volunteers.