Polkas, Anyone?

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Article reports on two polkas that may have been played and danced to in 1855 at the opening of the new Smithsonian Institution Building or Castle. One of the musical pieces was titled "Smithsonian Polka" and was dedicated "to the Officers & Members of the Smithsonian Institute." The other piece was dedicated "to the Officers and Members of the Metropolitan Mechanics' Institute of Washington City D.C.;" the Institute held meetings at the Smithsonian Building and Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry was also President of the Institute. At the time the article was written, OAHP staff members were arranging for a recital of the two polkas on period instruments.


  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Smithsonian Institution Building (Washington, D.C.)
  • Metropolitan Mechanics' Institute
  • Office of Architectural History and Historic Preservation (OAHHP)


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography


Written by Michael C. Hendron of the Office of Architectural History & Historic Preservation

Contained within

Smithsonian Preservation Quarterly (Newsletter)

Contact information

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


Fall 1992


  • Musical instruments
  • Polkas
  • Music
  • Secretaries
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • SI, Early History
  • Dance

Physical description

pgs. 5 & 6

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