S. Dillon Ripley, Secretary, 1964-1984, Dies

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  • S. Dillon Ripley, 1913-2001, eighth Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution from 1964 to 1984, dies. An ornithologist and ecologist, Ripley presided over an unprecedented period of growth and set new standards for Smithsonian programs. Among his achievements are the creation of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education, Center for Folklife Programs and Cultural Studies, with its annual Folklife Festival, the Conservation and Research Center at the National Zoological Park, The Smithsonian Associates, Smithsonian magazine, the Smithsonian Fellowship Program, the Anacostia Museum and Center for African American History and Culture, the Cooper Hewitt, the National Design Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and the Renwick Gallery.
  • Other new programs were the Whipple Observatory, Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce, Florida, the Museum Support Center, the National Museum of African Art, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Enid A. Haupt Garden and the S. Dillon Ripley Center. Other achievements include the renovation of the American Art and Portrait Galleries in the historic Patent Office Building, the Arts and Industries Building and Smithsonian Institution Building or Castle; construction of the new National Air and Space Museum; acquisition of the Archives of American Art, and greatly expanded scientific programs at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Mr. Ripley maintained an ornithology laboratory at the National Museum of Natural History, even after his retirement. Mr. Ripley was also a noted conservationist, deeply committed to the conservation of endangered species and habitats throughout the globe.


  • Ripley, Sidney Dillon 1913-2001
  • Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory
  • Fort Pierce Bureau
  • Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
  • Conservation Biology Institute (National Zoological Park)
  • Conservation Analytical Laboratory (CAL)
  • Smithsonian Institution Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage
  • Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC)
  • National Museum of American Art (U.S.)
  • National Museum of African Art (U.S.)
  • National Associates
  • National Air and Space Museum
  • National Museum of Natural History (U.S.).) Museum Support Center
  • Museum of African Art (U.S.)
  • Mt. Hopkins Observatory.)
  • International Center
  • Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
  • S. Dillon Ripley International Center
  • Resident Associates Program
  • Office of Folklife Programs
  • Office of Fellowships and Grants
  • National Zoological Park (U.S.)
  • National Portrait Gallery (U.S.)
  • National Museum of Natural History (U.S.)
  • Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)
  • Smithsonian Office of Biological Conservation)
  • Smithsonian National Associates Program (SNAP)
  • Smithsonian Marine Station at Link Point (SMSLP)
  • Smithsonian Magazine)
  • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
  • Smithsonian Associates, The )
  • Anacostia Neighborhood Museum
  • Anacostia Community Museum)
  • Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (Smithsonian Institution)
  • Arts and Industries Building
  • Archives of American Art
  • Patent Office Building (POB)
  • Renwick Gallery)
  • Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education)
  • Smithsonian Institution Building (Washington, D.C.)
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum
  • Museum Conservation Institute
  • Smithsonian Folklife Festival
  • Festival of American Folklife


Chronology of Smithsonian History


Barnes, Bart, "Smithsonian Visionary Ripley Dies," The Washington Post, 13 March 2001, p. A01.

Contact information

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


  • March 12, 2001
  • 19th century


  • Secretariats
  • Astrophysics
  • Conservation and restoration
  • Animals
  • Art museums
  • Secretaries
  • Birds
  • Museums
  • Ecology
  • History
  • Smithsonian Institution Quadrangle Complex
  • Astronomy
  • Museum techniques
  • Ornithology


  • United States
  • Enid A. Haupt Garden (Washington, D.C.)

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