Operation Reindeer

ID: SIA RU000365 [SIA2011-0029]


Form/Genre: Black-and-white photographs

Date: 1958

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 365, Image No. SIA2011-0029

Usage Conditions Apply
The Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes personal and educational use of its collections unless otherwise noted. For commercial uses, please contact photos@si.edu.
Download IIIF Manifest Request permissions Download image Print

Narrow Your Results


Filter Your Results

Smithsonian Secretaries Information

Close Browse records and papers of the Smithsonian Secretaries, from 1846 until today. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by individuals who have held that office.

Expeditions Information

Close Browse records and papers documenting scientific and collecting expeditions either affiliated with the Smithsonian, or with which Smithsonian researchers participated. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by geographic regions predominantly represented in expedition records.

Professional Societies Information

Close Browse records of professional societies closely associated with the Smithsonian, that focus on areas of scientific research and museum studies. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by major topics and disciplines.


Motor carrier executives and animal experts here prepare for the second part of Operation Reindeer. George M. Sullivan (left), Traffic Manager for Garrison Fast Freight Division of Consolidated Freightways, Inc., together with Smithsonian National Zoological Park Senior Keeper Charles Thomas and Associate Director J. Lear Grimmer, expedite the reindeer to the train for Seward and a ship journey to Seattle. Grimmer and Thomas traveled to remote Kotzebue, Alaska on the Arctic Circle, where they rounded up the animals. An Alaska Air Command plane brought them to Anchorage. Alaska Steamship's S.S. Iliamna then took them 1,400 miles to Seattle, where a special 40 foot trailer from Consolidated Freightways drove the group 3, 100 miles to Washington, D.C. Operation Reindeer was the name for the transfer of 14 reindeer and 1 caribou to the National Zoological Park from Alaska in 1958. The animals were a gift for Alaska's admittance to the United States of American (which became official in 1959). The Operation was a joint effort between the Smithsonian, State of Alaska, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Consolidated Freightways, Alaska Air Command, Alaska Steamship Co., Alaska Railroad, and Garrison Fast Freight. The reindeer and caribou all arrived safely to Washington, D.C. on December 11, 1958, just in time to participate in that year's "Pageant of Peace" on the National Mall.


  • Sullivan, George M
  • Thomas, Charles
  • Grimmer, J. Lear
  • Iliamna (Steamship)
  • National Zoological Park (U.S.)
  • Alaska Steamship Co
  • United States Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • Consolidated Freightways, inc
  • United States Air Force Alaskan Air Command
  • Alaska Railroad
  • Garrison Fast Freight

Cite as

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 365, Image No. SIA2011-0029

Repository Loc.

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



Restrictions & Rights

  • No access restrictions Many of SIA's holdings are located off-site, and advance notice is recommended to consult a collection. Please email the SIA Reference Team at osiaref@si.edu
  • Copyright Not Evaluated


  • Reindeer
  • Caribou


  • Mall, The (Washington, D.C.)
  • Alaska
  • Seattle (Wash.)


Black-and-white photographs

Local number

SIA RU000365 [SIA2011-0029]

Physical description

9.52 x 7.83

Full Record

View Full Record