Wonderful Women Wednesday: Rita C. Cipalla

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.

Rita C. Cipalla was the chief of public affairs and, later, director of communications for the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum between 1980 and 1990. In this role, she worked closely with the media to coordinate news stories and visits from international leaders, like Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Prince Charles, and celebrities. Her name is sprinkled throughout the nation’s most popular newspapers, in which she is noted as the Museum’s “spokeswoman.”

Rita Cipalla earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from the University of Dayton, Ohio.

Portrait of Cipalla. She is wearing a blazer and button down.

Related Resources

  • National Air and Space Museum. Office of Special Events, Events Files, circa 1971-1989, Record Unit 339, Smithsonian Institution Archives

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