Robert "Railroad" Harris, by Hofmeister, Richard K, 1984, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, Robert "Railroad" Harris at the time of his retirement. Harris, a security officer at the National Museum of American History, retired after 38 years at the Smithsonian, December 18, 1984. When he came to the Institution, the entire guard force consisted of 80 men who rotated between four buildings. His nickname stuck when another guard began calling him "Railroad" after learning that Harris's initials were R.R. (Robert Riley)..