Planning for Operation Reindeer

ID: SIA2011-0030

Creator: Unknown

Form/Genre: Photographic print

Date: 1958

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 365, Box 15, Folder: 11

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Operation Reindeer, the plan to transfer 14 reindeer and 1 caribou to the National Zoological Park from Alaska in 1958, gets underway as motor carrier executives and animal experts set plans. Edwin L. Isenberger (left), Operations Engineer for Consolidated Freightways Inc., discusses the novel move with the Smithsonian National Zoological Park's Senior Keeper Charles Thomas and Associate Director J. Lear Grimmer. To set plans for the trip, the handlers stopped to visit at the Seattle Zoo at the reindeer exhibition to see "Pepper Pot."


  • Operation Reindeer
  • National Zoological Park (U.S.)


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


The reindeer were a gift for Alaska's admittance as the 49th state (which became official in 1959) to the United States of America. 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.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 365, Box 15, Folder: 11

Contact information

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



Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Zoo keepers
  • Animals
  • Zoos
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Personnel management
  • Reindeer
  • Employees
  • Gifts
  • Smithsonian Institution--Employees
  • Zoos--Employees


Seattle (Wash.)


  • Photographic print
  • Group, candid

ID Number


Physical description

Number of Images: 1; Color: Black and white; Size: 8w x 11.75h; Type of Image: Group, candid; Medium: Photographic print

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