News Releases

Personal Statement from Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough on the Death of I. Michael Heyman

November 21, 2011

Official Smithsonian statement regarding I. Michael Heyman available here


Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough issued the following statement on the passing of I. Michael Heyman:

I was saddened to learn of the passing of former Secretary of the Smithsonian, Michael Heyman. In his five years as Secretary he helped usher in a more dynamic Smithsonian, an Institution more thoroughly engaged with the American people. I was fortunate to meet him when I became Secretary, and he was always helpful to me personally and very supportive of the Smithsonian.

In 1995 Secretary Heyman oversaw the creation of the Smithsonian’s first website, realizing even then the potential of technology to expand our mission and reach. He initiated the Smithsonian Affiliations Program, which has grown into a network of more than 169 museums across the country. Seeking to make the Institution a more inclusive one, he established the Smithsonian Latino Center and the Asian Pacific American Program. His signature program was the celebration of the Smithsonian’s 150th anniversary in 1996, with an unprecedented exhibition “America’s Smithsonian” traveling to major cities, the Birthday Party on the Mall and the creation of the Smithsonian Community Committee.

Secretary Heyman secured funding for building the National Museum of the American Indian and a key donation for the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. He was able to enhance support in Congress for stewardship of the Smithsonian’s infrastructure. A proud veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, he tackled the tough controversy surrounding the planned exhibition of the Enola Gay.

As Secretary, and prior to that, as a member of the Board of Regents, Mike Heyman was unflinchingly optimistic about the Smithsonian’s ability to be a force for knowledge and inspiration in our society.

All of us at the Smithsonian are grateful for Secretary Heyman’s many contributions, and our thoughts and condolences are with his family in their time of loss.

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Media only
Linda St.Thomas
(202) 633-5188

John Gibbons
(202) 633-5187


Related photos: 

Former Smithsonian Secretary I. Michael Heyman

Photo: Richard Strauss, Smithsonian

Former Smithsonian Secretary Ira Michael Heyman, whose tenure ranged from 1994 until 2000.

Related photos: 

Secretary I. Michael Heyman

Photo: Richard Strauss, Smithsonian

Former Smithsonian Secretary Ira Michael Heyman

Related photos: 

Secretary Ira Michael Heyman

Photo: Unknown photographer, Smithsonian Institution

Ira Michael Heyman (1930-2011), tenth Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, seated, was elected at a May 25th, 1994 meeting of the Board of Regents. Heyman, a lawyer, was counselor to Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt. He is also deputy assistant for policy at the Department of the Interior.