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Installation of Dr. David J. Skorton, 13th Secretary of the Smithsonian

October 19, 2015

David J. Skorton was installed as the 13th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution during a ceremony held today, Oct. 19, at the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building on the National Mall. The Hon. John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the United States and Chancellor of the Smithsonian, presided over the ceremony and presented Skorton with a ceremonial brass key that once opened one of the massive oak doors of the Smithsonian Castle.

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Badge of Office

Smithsonian Institution

The Smithsonian’s Badge of Office is a thick, irregularly shaped medallion made of 18-carat gold that hangs from a cherry-red ribbon. Cast in high relief and set within a deeply recessed square on the front is the owl of Athena, a symbol of wisdom, and an olive branch, a symbol of peace and goodwill. The owl has forward-gazing eyes that are set with a pair of large, yellow sapphires.

Ceremonial Key

Smithsonian Institution

The tradition of passing the Smithsonian key to the incoming Secretary originated for the 1964 induction of S. Dillon Ripley as the eighth Secretary of the Smithsonian. In lieu of the administration of an oath of office, outgoing Secretary Leonard Carmichael proposed a key-passing ceremony based on similar ones frequently used in the inauguration of university presidents.

Dr. David Skorton, 13th Smithsonian Secretary

Smithsonian Institution

Dr. David J. Skorton is the 13th Secretary of the Smithsonian. He assumed his position July 1, 2015.

Installation of Dr. David J. Skorton as 13th Secretary (Arts and Industries Building)

Joyce Boghosian / Smithsonian Institution

A reception followed the installation of Dr. David J. Skorton as 13th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in the rotunda of the historic Arts and Industries Building, Oct. 19, 2015.

Photo by Joyce Boghosian / Smithsonian Institution

Installation of Dr. David J. Skorton as 13th Secretary (Arts and Industries Building)

Joyce Boghosian / Smithsonian Institution

David J. Skorton was installed as 13th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution during a ceremony at the historic Arts and Industries Building Oct. 19, 2015.

Photo by Joyce Boghosian / Smithsonian Institution 

Installation of Dr. David J. Skorton as 13th Secretary (Smithsonian Key)

John Gibbons / Smithsonian Institution

Dr. David J. Skorton, 13th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, receives the symbolic key to the Institution from the Smithsonian Chancellor, Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts, during Skorton's installation ceremony at the historic Arts and Industries Building Oct. 19, 2015.

Photo by John Gibbons / Smithsonian Institution

Installation of Dr. David J. Skorton as 13th Secretary (Wynton Marsalis)

Joyce Boghosian / Smithsonian Institution

Acclaimed composer and musician Wynton Marsalis played a Selmer trumpet made for jazz legend Louis Armstrong during a performance with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra at the installation of David J. Skorton as 13th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Oct. 19, 2015.

(Photo by Joyce Boghosian / Smithsonian Institution)

Installation of Dr. David Skorton as 13th Secretary (Speakers)

Joyce Boghosian / Smithsonian Institution

From left, Shirley Ann Jackson, vice chair of the Smithsonian Board of Regents; Chief Justice of the United States and Smithsonian Chancellor John G. Roberts; David J Skorton, 13th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution; John W. McCarter, Jr., chair of the Smithsonian Board of Regents; and David M. Rubenstein, Smithsonian Board of Regents at the installation of the 13th Secretary Oct. 19.

Collection Highlights: Louis Armstrong's Selmer Trumpet

trumpet

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Louis Armstrong Selmer Trumpet, 1946

Created by: Henri Selmer Paris, September 1946

Brass-and-gold trumpet owned and played by Louis Armstrong. This one-of-a-kind trumpet was crafted by Henri Selmer specifically for Armstrong in Paris after World War II, during the French recovery period.

Smithsonian Mace

Smithsonian Institution

The Smithsonian Mace was commissioned in 1964 by the Institution in anticipation of the celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of the Smithsonian’s benefactor and namesake, James Smithson. The 47-inch mace was unveiled Sept.

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Text of Secretary Skorton's remarks, "Magic" (.pdf)38.32 KB

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