Margaret A. Santiago (1931–2018) was the first African American woman registrar at the Smithsonian and at any major scientific museum. She began her career with the Smithsonian as a clerk typist in 1960, and, after three years, she was promoted to assistant supervisor in the accessions and specimen control unit of the National Museum of Natural History. In 1970, Santiago earned the role of supervisor in the unit, and was later promoted to supervisory registrar technician. By 1977, Santiago managed the Museum's collections as its registrar, a position which she held until her retirement in 1991.
In 1981, Santiago chaired the Smithsonian Institution’s Women’s Council, an organization dedicated to the achievement and advancement of the Institution’s women. Outside of the Smithsonian, Santiago was a charter member of the Association of African American Museums, founded in 1978.
Santiago was also a talented singer, and, in 1987, she released an album, titled MarGueritte S. Soulful Gospel.
- “Remembering Margaret Santiago,” by LaNesha DeBardelaben, Association of African American Museums
- “Spartanburg native leaves position at the Smithsonian,” GoUpstate.com, 4 February 1991
Archives staff will dedicate time to identify and digitize photographs of Santiago in our collections when we are safely back in the office.