PRESS RELEASE from the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Committee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                              Contact: PIC Communications Office
January 7, 2009                        

Presidential Inaugural Committee to Partner with Smithsonian Institution

Partnership will allow museums to open longer, offer more programming

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Continuing its commitment to making this the most open and accessible inauguration in history, the Presidential Inaugural Committee [PIC] is partnering with the Smithsonian Institution on Inauguration Day. The partnership will allow some of the museums around the National Mall - the entirety of which is open to the public for the swearing-in and parade - to stay open longer and offer expanded cultural programming and visitor services on Tuesday, January 20. 

The PIC is giving the Smithsonian Institution $700,000 to underwrite its activities and provide additional security for the expected crowds. The National Museum of American History and the Castle building will open at 8 a.m. on Inauguration Day - two hours earlier than normal - and have extra staff on hand to aid visitors. Throughout the weekend leading up to the inauguration, and because of PIC support, the Smithsonian will offer an expanded range of performances, programs and exhibitions relating to the presidency. A small sample of the programs includes:

*         "Renewing America's Promise" - This is the overall theme of free public programs and exhibitions in the Museum of American History. Music, gallery talks, book signings and actors portraying presidents and first ladies will be presented in the museum Saturday through Monday. A major exhibition, "The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden" explores the personal, public, ceremonial and executive actions of the 43 men who have had an impact on the course of history.

*         Portrait of President-Elect Barack Obama created by Shepard Fairey became the central portrait image for the campaign and was distributed as a limited edition print and as a free download. The portrait will be on view by inauguration day on the National Portrait Gallery's first floor. 

*         "A Century Ago...They Came as Sovereign Leaders," at the National Museum of the American Indian, focuses on President Theodore Roosevelt's 1905 inaugural parade and the six great chiefs who participated in the parade. From Saturday through Monday, the museum will host free program, "Out of Many, One: A Multicultural Festival of Music, Dance and Story."  

*         "One Life: The Mask of Lincoln," at the National Portrait Gallery, examines Lincoln's use of the new art of photography to convey his image to Americans.

To see the full slate of inauguration-related offerings from the Smithsonian, please visit

 "The Smithsonian museums have been an integral part of inaugural events for decades, and as part of our effort to make this the most accessible and inclusive inauguration in history, we're excited to have the opportunity to partner with them and enrich the inaugural experiences of tens of thousands of Americans," PIC Executive Director Emmett S. Beliveau said.

"With historic levels of interest in the inauguration of President-elect Obama, we are pleased to work with the Presidential Inaugural Committee to help accommodate all the visitors we expect," Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough said.  "The funding will allow record numbers of Americans to enjoy free programs and exhibits at the Smithsonian museums while they are in Washington for the inaugural festivities."