Susan A. Hamilton wore many hats around the Smithsonian between 1969 and 1995. Though she initially served as the program director of Smithsonian Associates, Hamilton was hired as the Bicentennial coordinator for the Institution in 1972. In this role, she was responsible for developing and assisting with activities, including numerous special exhibitions, celebrations of American culture at the Festival of American Folklife, major scholarly projects, and two symposia, related to the Bicentennial of the American Revolution.
When the Smithsonian disbanded the Bicentennial Committee in 1977, Hamilton was transferred to a position as the special assistant to the Assistant Secretary for History and Art, where she stayed until 1981. In 1977, Secretary Ripley appointed Hamilton to serve as the Smithsonian’s coordinator for inaugural week activities.
After coordinating a few of the Smithsonian’s major national initiatives in the 1970s, Hamilton was then off to New York. Between 1982 and 1995, she worked as the deputy director of the Archives of American Art. Between 1988 and 1990, Hamilton served as the acting director of the archives.