Wonderful Women Wednesday: Amy Ballard

Each week, the Archives features a woman who has been a groundbreaker at the Smithsonian, past or present, in a series titled Wonderful Women Wednesday.

Amy Ballard is a senior historic preservation specialist emerita with the Smithsonian’s Architectural History and Historic Preservation Office, where she worked between 1985 until her retirement in 2016. She was promoted to senior historic preservation specialist in 2010. 

Ballard has contributed to plans for new buildings, including the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. She has also protected the Institution’s various buildings—from checking smoke detectors to working on major renovations. In 2009, she co-authored A Guide to Smithsonian Architecture

Prior to her time in that office, Ballard earned a role as assistant to James M. Goode, curator of the Smithsonian Institution Building, in 1976. One of her "other duties as assigned" in the role included responsibilities as a caretaker for the barn owls that lived in the Castle. What did this mean? About four times a week, Ballard put on a jumpsuit and motorcycle helmet and fed mice or rats to the birds. You can read all about her experience.

She graduated from American University in 1975 with a degree in art history. 

Portrait of Amy Ballard.

Related Collections

Produced by the Smithsonian Institution Archives. For copyright questions, please see the Terms of Use.