Baird Auditorium, National Museum of Natural History Building, 1911, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Image no. 2002-12145.

Missed Connections

For Valentine’s Day, we’re digging into some potential love connections that started at the Smithsonian.

What do the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, and the Baird Auditorium in the National Museum of Natural History have in common? They’re all settings where star-crossed lovers meet and fall in love. 

Let me explain. While doing research in the Washington Blade—Washington, D.C.’s LGBTQ+ newspaper and the oldest LGBTQ+ newspaper in the country—I came across a section called “Glances,” or “Missed Connections,” as you might know, them from other periodicals. According to the Blade, Glances “can be exciting, romantic, intriguing” personal advertisements in which people who were unable to meet, exchange numbers, or ask that special someone out on a date can shoot their shot. Lucky for us, some of those lovers exchanged “exciting, romantic, intriguing” glances right here at the Smithsonian. 

Sure, we know that the Baird Auditorium is home to lectures, forums, and public events, but it is also the site where, according to this post, a soul was “intoxicated.”

The section about the Smithsonian reads: "Baird Auditorium, 9/20 Women in black w/ backpack. Oooh, w

The National Portrait Gallery’s collections certainly leave visitors with a lasting impact. Well, so did a parting glance outside of the building on the streets of Washington, D.C. 

The section reads: "Sunday, 2/6, F Street, NW, 1:30 pm. Me: tall, blue jeans, leather jacket, purple

Interested in love and in the power of place? Personal histories collide with geography, Smithsonian history, and the history of Washington, D.C. in these stories.

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