West Hall of U.S. National Museum Decorated for Garfield Inaugural Ball

ID: SIA2009-0158 or 8015 or MAH-8015

Creator: Unknown

Form/Genre: Photographic print

Date: March 4, 1881

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives Record Unit 371 Box 2 Folder May 1976

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The West Hall and Rotunda of the new United States National Museum, now the Arts and Industries Building, decorated for President James A. Garfield's and Chester A. Arthur's Inaugural Ball, March 4, 1881. This was the first event held in the building. Garlands of electric lights were strung from the ceiling and the "Statue of America" in the rotunda held an electric lamp in her hand. Buntings and flags decorated the walls and a wooden floor was laid for the event. In the background of the images there is a banner hanging in the East Hall that reads "Supper Room." This was the first inaugural ball held at the Smithsonian Institution.


  • Arthur, Chester Alan 1829-1886
  • Garfield, James A (James Abram) 1831-1881
  • Arts and Industries Building
  • United States National Museum
  • United States President (1881 : Garfield)
  • United States President


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


Featured in TORCH, May 1976; the image featured in TORCH was reversed so that the "Statue of America" was facing the incorrect direction. The reversed photo is located on SIA-66

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives Record Unit 371 Box 2 Folder May 1976

Contact information

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


March 4, 1881

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Ceilings
  • Electric lighting
  • Statues
  • Rotundas
  • Garfield Inaugural Ball
  • Inaugurations
  • Openings
  • Electricity
  • Inaugural Balls
  • Museum openings
  • Stencil work
  • Bunting (Cloth)
  • Presidents
  • Event


  • Photographic print
  • Event
  • Interior

ID Number

SIA2009-0158 or 8015 or MAH-8015

Physical description

Color: Black and White; Size: 8w x 10h; Type of Image: Event; Interior; Medium: Photographic print

Full Record

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