Variously referred to as the “Nation’s Attic” or “Octopus on the Mall,” the Smithsonian is an institution that is 172 years old and comprised of 19 museums; 9 research centers; 21 libraries; and the National Zoo, which is bound to have secrets. (Well, maybe not secrets, but certainly the uncommon, rare, curious, extraordinary—even perhaps bizarre.) Nancy E. Gwinn will delve into the fascinating history of the Smithsonian, the world’s largest museum complex and America’s national museum, and share some of its intriguing stories.

Gwinn has been director of the Smithsonian Libraries since 1997. She oversees a network of 21 libraries and central services units and is a recognized leader in international librarianship, in developing digital libraries, in building cooperative programs and partnerships, and in promoting Smithsonian scholarship to external communities.

A former Fulbright Scholar at the University of Oxford in England, Gwinn holds a doctorate in American civilization from George Washington University, a master’s in library science from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s from the University of Wyoming.

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Nancy Gwinn, Ph.D.
Director, the Smithsonian Libraries
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Evelyn Dilsaver
Chair, Commonwealth Club Board of Governors—Moderator