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In his annual report for the year 1856, Secretary of the Smithsonian Joseph Henry complained that Congress had not provided money in the Smithsonian's budget to maintain the Institution's grounds. As a result, he said that the area around the…

This shed stood south-east of the first Smithsonian building, now called the Castle. Smithsonian staff stored gardening and grounds keeping equipment used on the institution's grounds. This shed was removed in the 1870s when construction of the Arts…

When the architect of the National Museum of History and Technology wanted an outdoor sculpture designed for the new museum opening in the mid-1960s, he recommended artist Jose de Rivera. Rivera was an established sculptor known for his abstract…

Congress occasionally planted Christmas trees on the Capitol grounds, but it was not until 1964 when an annual ritual began. Senator Carl Hayden of Arizona, President Pro Tempore of the US Senate, presided over the first lighting ceremony on December…

On the first night of Hanukkah in 1979, President Jimmy Carter walked from the White House to Lafayette Park to light the first public Menorah near the Mall. Sponsored by the American Friends of Chabad-Lubavitch, Abraham Shemtov and Levi Shemtov…

On December 24, 1923, President Calvin Coolidge lit the first National Christmas Tree on the grounds of the Ellipse. Community volunteers and civic leaders, worked together with local schools and the Society of Electrical Development to organize the…

Louisiana-born sculptor, Jose de Rivera designed and built the abstract sculpture "Infinity" that currently welcomes visitors to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. The sculpture slowly rotates on its base, completing 1 revolution…

Sculptor Alexander Calder designed "Gwenfritz" in 1965 after Washington philanthropist Gwendolyn Cafritz commissioned him to create a piece for the new Museum of History and Technology. Calder built the 40-foot tall metal stabile in France and…

Since the 1770s, American indigenous people have always served in the US military at a higher rate than other groups. In 1994, a bipartisan congressional effort passed the Native American Veterans’ Memorial Establishment Act to authorize the…
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