Smithsonian Institution 150th Birthday Party on the Mall Interviews, 1996

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  • As part of the Smithsonian Institution's celebration of its Sesquicentennial in 1996, a 150th Birthday Party was held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. over the course of two days in August. At the Smithsonian Institution Archives tent, staff of the Institutional History Division and volunteers conducted interviews with 39 Smithsonian current and former staff members and visitors. Staff interviewees discussed their reminiscences of the Institution and their careers. Visitor interviewees discussed their reminiscences of earlier visits to the Smithsonian. Over 300 visitors to the Smithsonian Archives tent also participated in completing Smithsonian Memories sheets, writing about their fondest memories about visiting the Smithsonian.
  • In conjunction with the individual interview sessions held at the Smithsonian Institution Archives tent, 11 informal, group interview sessions were conducted with Smithsonian staff at the Narrative Stage tent. Staff interviewees discussed their careers, daily work, and job experiences. Topics for discussion were "The Art of Scientific Illustration," "Smithsonian's America: Looking Back at an Exhibit," "Genealogy, Family History, and Preservation," "What is Repatriation?," "Looking Back at the History of Flight," "Rainforests and Elephants: Doing Fieldwork and Exhibits," "Building a National Zoo," "Keeping the Nation's Treasure House Secure," "Keeping Track of the Nation's Attic: Talking with Registrars," "Taking Care of the National Collections," and "Office of Smithsonian Archives: An Overview."


  • National Zoological Park (U.S.)
  • Smithsonian Institution Archives


  • (1) Description in control file; (2) unprocessed.
  • Forms part of the Smithsonian Institution Archives Oral History Collection.


(1) Audiotapes, 28 hours and 15 minutes

Repository Loc.

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Capital Gallery, Suite 3000, MRC 507; 600 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20024-2520




  • Genealogy
  • Scientific illustrators
  • Museum archives
  • Aeronautics
  • Employees
  • Museums
  • Museum registrars
  • Security
  • History
  • Archival materials
  • Conservation and restoration
  • Taxidermists
  • Personnel management
  • Repatriation
  • Volunteers
  • Cultural property
  • Visitors
  • Museums--Collection management
  • Museum curators
  • Museum exhibits
  • Museum techniques
  • Archival materials--Conservation and restoration
  • Cultural property--Repatriation
  • Museums--Security
  • Aeronautics--History


  • Interviews
  • Collection descriptions
  • Audiotapes
  • Oral history

Local number

SIA RU009595

Physical description

50 audiotapes (Originals)

Full Record

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