Season’s Greetings!

Drum roll, please! The winner of the annual Smithsonian winter card contest has been announced. The winning design is a fitting symbol of the Smithsonian’s role in telling the stories of America.

The Smithsonian is an inspiring place, full of talented and creative people. Last year, Secretary Skorton began a new annual tradition that shares a bit of the wonder of working here with friends and colleagues across the globe in celebration of the holiday season and the beginning of a new year.

In October, the Smithsonian community was asked for help in designing the Smithsonian winter greeting card. We received many creative and imaginative submissions that captured the essence of the Smithsonian in art, animation and photographs.

We’re delighted to announce the winner, Agnes Yackshaw, an Information Desk volunteer at the National Museum of Natural History, who submitted her beautiful original oil painting, “A Buffalo in the Snow.”

Agnes explained that the iconic American bison, commonly called the buffalo, is a perfect symbol for this year’s Smithsonian greeting card.

  • It’s our national mammal, so named by President Obama in April 2016.
  • Several buffalo grazed the grounds of the Smithsonian Castle in the 1800s before being herded off to the National Zoo, where their descendants continue to be a popular attraction for visitors.
  • The buffalo is extremely important to the history and culture of Native American tribal nations as demonstrated in multiple exhibitions and displays throughout the National Museum of the American Indian on the Mall and at the George Gustav Heye Center in New York City.
  • The buffalo is featured prominently in the National Museum of American History’s exhibition on westward expansion and the National Museum of African American History and Culture section on Buffalo soldiers.
  • The buffalo is well represented in artwork at our museums, ranging from the sculpture of Frederic Remington to George Catlin’s paintings to pottery and engravings to the designs of stamps and coins.

“As part of the larger overall Smithsonian community of museums,” Agnes says, “the buffalo is very important not only to the Smithsonian but also to the United States of America!”

In a tradition they began years ago, Dr. Skorton and his wife, Robin Davisson, used this image as their inspiration for a haiku they wrote for the Smithsonian’s winter greeting.

“Robin and I are very grateful to be a part of the Smithsonian family,” Dr. Skorton says, “and we look forward to sharing with you all of the wonderful things that await the Institution in 2017.”

Start thinking now about your submission for next year’s contest and check out the rest of the 2016 finalists. Congratulations to everyone who submitted a design!

Winter Greeting Card Finalists

Submitted by An Almquist

Greenlit photo of NMAAHC

Happy Holidays, submitted by An Almquist

Submitted by Daniel H. Davies

Castle in blizzard

The Smithsonian Castle in the midst of a blizzard. Submitted by Daniel H. Davies, Office Chief, Facilities Management, South Mall.

Submitted by Carolyn Eby

Collage of snowmen and trees in front of SI Castle

SEEC Winter Card created with the help of children attending the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center at the American History Museum, submitted by Art educator Carolyn Eby.

Submitted by Brad Jefferson

composite kaleidescope image of NMAAHC

NMAAHC Kaleidescope based on a quote from Barbara Jordan, “We are more than a melting pot; we are a kaleidoscope, where every turn of history refracts new light on the old promise.” Submitted by Brad Jefferson, volunteer with the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Submitted by Diane Kidd

watercolor painting with fanciful creatures

Original watercolor by Diane Kidd, Early Childhood Program Manager, National Air and Space Museum.

Submitted by Joanne Leese

Close up of space shuttle tail pipes

Submitted by Joanne Leese, Assistant Director of Principal Giving with the Office of Advancement.

Submitted by Elizabeth Miller

Close-up of flower arrangement

Submitted by Elizabeth Miller, volunteer with Smithsonian Facilities’ Horticulture Collection Management and Education division.

Submitted by Brian Morris

Photo of NMAAHC in background, sculpture in foreground

The National Museum of African American History with Alexander Calder’s Gwenfritz sculpture in the foreground. Submitted By Brian Morris, Acting Manager/Electronic Technician at the Exhibit Technology Center of the American History Museum.

Submitted by Amy Stenzel

Submitted by Libby Weiler

Animated gif of Wonder exhibition and virtual reality app

“Wonder 360,” Libby Weiler, program assistant, on the behalf of the Media and Technology Office of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Submitted by Katherine Willard

design featuring James Smithson in Santa hat

Happy Holidays submitted by Katherine Willard, social media intern with Smithsonian Associates.

Submitted by Agnes Yackshaw

Painting of buffalo against blue and white landscape

“Buffalo in the Snow,” original oil painting by Agnes Yackshaw, Information Desk volunteer at the National Museum of Natural History

Posted: 20 December 2016
About the Author:

Alex di Giovanni has been editing The Torch since August 2006. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, she worked as a writer and editor for the National Geographic Society, Plexus Scientific, The Nature Conservancy, The National Foreign Language Center and St. Martin’s Press, among others. She has the best job in the world.