Not Your Average Moving Day

Moving of Greenough Statue of George Washington
Moving.  Everyone has had to pack up all of their things and move to a new location at some point in their life.  Sometimes we move for a job, or school, or love, but no matter what the reason, it still takes a lot of work to make sure things are packed carefully to prevent damage during the process, and coordinating for the items to be moved can be a pain as well.  But what about when museum objects or specimens need to be moved?  Especially for large objects, the process is a lot more complicated than ensuring the object is surrounded by a sufficient layer of bubble wrap and packing peanuts.

Horatio Greenough Statue of George Washington
Take the statue of George Washington that was sculpted by Horatio Greenough for example.  The statue had previously been housed at the U.S. Capitol building until 1908 when it was transferred to the Smithsonian.  On September 6, 1962, the statue was moved again, this time from the West Wing of the Smithsonian Institution Building, or Castle, to the Museum of History and Technology, now the National Museum of American History.  While the distance between the two buildings is less than a half mile, it took a lot of work.  In order to remove the statue from the Castle, it had to be raised off the floor and placed on bricks, and the glass and several stones from one of the windows in the West Wing were removed in preparation.  Even then, the statue barely fit through the opening. Once out of the building, the George Washington statue was lifted onto a truck by a crane for transportation to the Museum of History and Technology where it still remains on display.  The statue arrived in one piece, making the move a success!

Click through the slideshow for photos of objects being relocated.

Moving of Greenough Statue of George Washington, 1962, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 2003-19479.

Moving of Greenough Statue of George Washington, 1962, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 99-72.

Moving of Greenough Statue of George Washington, 1962, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 99-74.

Insect Collection Is Moved, 1962, Smithsonian Institution Archives, SIA2009-2122 and 85-4042.

Moving Stuart Portraits Out of NPG, By Rolland Wright, 1983, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 95-252.

Apollo 11 Command Module Moving Out of A&I, By Richard Ferrar, 1975, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 75-11095-20.

Moving the "Statue of Freedom" from the Rotunda of A&I, Smithsonian Institution Archives, OPA-1002-04 or OPA-1002.04.

Lunar Module Being Moved Out of A&I, by Richard Farrar, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 75-11097-12 or SIA75-11097-12.

Allosaurus is Moved to NMNH, by Jeff Tinsley, 1987, Smithsonian Institution Archives, SIA2009-2056 and 87-6524-15.

John Bull Loaned to Dallas Arts District, by Eric Long, 1984, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 84-15833-23.

Taking Down the Wright Flyer, by Mark Avino, 1985, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 85-1133-3.

Apollo 14 Command Module "Kitty Hawk" at LA Convention Center, 1996, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 96-615-14.

Science and Industry Statues Being Removed for Conservation, by Nathan Mountjoy, 1994, Smithsonian Institution ARchives, 94-5247-15A.

Unpacking Patricia Nixon's Inaugural Gown at LA Convention Center, by Jeff Tinsley, 1996, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 96-679-8-8a.

Unloading Olmec Head at Entrance of National Museum of Natural History, by Harold E. Dougherty, 1978, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 94-2877.

Related Collection

Record Unit 276, National Museum of History and Technology Office of the Director Records, 1944-1975




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