Snow Emergency and Tragedy

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Smithsonian staffers, dismissed from work early due to snow, are caught between two tragedies, a Metro derailment just north of the Smithsonian Station and an airplane crash on the 14th Street Bridge, which took the life of Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute scientist, Robert Elliot Silberglied. Most staffers were given administrative leave on Thursday, January 14th, as well. The National Zoological Park was closed from the 13th through the 15th. Phone traffic was so heavy on the main telephone switchboard that the mechanical answering machine broke down on Wednesday evening at about 6:30.


  • Silberglied, Robert E. 1946-1982
  • National Zoological Park (U.S.)
  • Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority


Chronology of Smithsonian History


Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 371, Box 4, "The Torch," February 1982, p. 1.

Contact information

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


January 13, 1982


  • Closings
  • Snow
  • Winter storms
  • Deaths
  • Blizzards
  • Accidents

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