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 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.
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.
- Washington Blade, Dig DC, DC Public Library
- "When Lucy Met Bill: A Smithsonian 'Meet-Cute'" by Hannah Byrne, The Bigger Picture, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- "Tragedy, Towers, and Romance at the Smithsonian" by Pamela M. Henson, The Bigger Picture, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- "Valentine's Day at the Archives: A Blossoming Romance" by Emily Niekrasz, The Bigger Picture, Smithsonian Institution Archives