Flag Lowering, Coiba Island, Panama

ID: SIA2010-0508 and Wetmore #6076

Creator: Wetmore, Alexander 1886-

Form/Genre: Photographic print

Date: January 22, 1956

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Alexander Wetmore Papers, Record Unit 7006, Box: 183, Album: Panama and Coiba, 1956

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.


At the penal colony on Coiba Island, Panama, a man in uniform is lowering the flag at sunset. Buildings of the penal colony compound and other men can be seen. The image was taken by Smithsonian Secretary Alexander Wetmore while on a scientific expedition in Panama to Coiba Island to study the birds of Panama.


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


From 1919 to 1991, Coiba Island, Panama, was a penal colony. Fear of the prison and its inmates deterred visitors from the island; thus some 80% of the natural areas on the island remain undisturbed. The island is also host to many endemic species. Both of these factors made the island ideal for Smithsonian Secretary Alexander Wetmore's scientific expedition to study birds. The officers and convicts pictured in Wetmore's images from the expedition were part of the penal colony. Some even worked as laborers for the expedition. Today, the island is no longer a penal colony. Instead, it is one of 38 islands composing Coiba Island National Park, a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage site.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Alexander Wetmore Papers, Record Unit 7006, Box: 183, Album: Panama and Coiba, 1956

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu


January 22, 1956

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Uniforms
  • Correctional institutions
  • Scientific expeditions
  • Landscapes
  • Architecture
  • Reformatories
  • Flags
  • Flagpole
  • Islands
  • Penal colonies
  • Buildings--Panama
  • Panamanians


  • Panama
  • Coiba Island (Panama)


  • Photographic print
  • Landscape
  • Group, candid

ID Number

SIA2010-0508 and Wetmore #6076

Physical description

Number of Images: 1; Color: Black and white; Size: 4.75 x 4.5 Type of Image: Landscape; Group, candid; Medium: Photographic print

Full Record

View Full Record