Arts Post
Posted at 02:24 PM ET, 09/21/2011

The Peace Corps celebrates 50 years with a donation to the Smithsonian

A Peace Corps training manual for the country Tanganyika. Several items from Peace Corps volunteers over the past 50 years are being donated to the Smithsonian. (Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution)
2011 marks 50 years of the creation of the Peace Corps by President John F. Kennedy, which was formed as a means to create understanding and strengthen relations between America and countries around the world. Now, the Smithsonian is joining in the celebration by presenting a collection of memorabilia and artifacts gathered from the many volunteers who served in the organization over the past half-century.

“This historic collection in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History represents 50 years of Peace Corps service and the lasting legacy Peace Corps volunteers have had in 139 countries,” says director of the Peace Corps Aaron Williams. The items, which include a letter of
A congraulatory letter signed by President John F. Kennedy to a Peace Corps volunteer. (Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution)
congratulations and achievement to a volunteer from President Kennedy, signage from the first Peace Corps office in Ghana, which was the first country to accommodate the program’s volunteers, and other brochures, documents, and posters, were presented today at the National Museum of American History.

The Smithsonian also recognized the Peace Corps with an exhibition spanning the organization’s world wide impact over the past fifty years during the 2011 Folklife Festival, which included crafts, food, music and dance.

Peace Corps button. (Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution)
The public can view a selection of the items on Sept. 23 from 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. at an “Out Of Storage” event hosted at the museum, where guides will be on hand to explain the significance of the items and the organization’s history.

Adds Williams “...this collection reflects decades of service from Americans who have worked alongside countless communities promoting world peace and friendship.”

“This is an honor for the Peace Corps to be included in such a significant American institution.”

The National Museum of American History is located on Constitution Ave., between 12th and 14th sts, NW. For more information, visit

By Erin Williams  |  02:24 PM ET, 09/21/2011

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