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The National Air and Space Museum opens on the Mall. The ribbon-cutting was accomplished by an electrical impulse that originated in the Viking spacecraft then nearing Mars, burning the ribbon. The ceremony was attended by Michael Collins, director of the Museum, President Gerald Ford, Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, Chancellor Warren Burger, Secretary S. Dillon Ripley, and many others. The building was designed by Gyo Obata of Hellmuth, Obata, and Kassabaum with a modern open design to accommodate the large aircraft and rockets.


  • Ripley, Sidney Dillon 1913-2001
  • Burger, Warren E. 1907-
  • Collins, Michael 1930-
  • Ford, Gerald R. 7/14/1913-12/26/2006
  • Obata, Gyo 1923-
  • Rockefeller, Nelson A (Nelson Aldrich) 1908-1979
  • Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum
  • National Air and Space Museum
  • National Air Museum (U.S.)
  • United States. Office of the Vice President
  • United States President


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Torch, 8/1976, p. 1-2, 8
  • Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7098, "S. Dillon Ripley Chronology"

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


July 1, 1976


  • Secretariats
  • Architecture
  • Secretaries
  • Aeronautics
  • New Museums
  • Viking Mars Program
  • Design
  • Openings
  • Exhibitions
  • Judges
  • Dignitaries
  • Astronautics
  • Major Events in Smithsonian History
  • Architecture--Design and plans
  • Buildings


Mall, The (Washington, D.C.)

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