Happy 75th Birthday, Smokey Bear!
Smokey Bear celebrates his 75th birthday this August, and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) will commemorate this anniversary at the National Agricultural Library (NAL) in Beltsville, Maryland, with lobby exhibits and several showings of historical films in its Smokey Bear Theater. Visitors can also take a selfie with Smokey in front of a life-sized mural printed for the event.
The temporary exhibit will be open to the public until the end of August and includes poster reproductions, original sheet music, clothing patches, Milton Bradley board games, stuffed bears, and other trinkets like key chains, pencils, and rulers. Sports enthusiasts may enjoy seeing collectible cards such as one of 49ers Super Bowl XIX Champion Joe Montana standing beside Smokey Bear.
“The Smokey Bear Collection at NAL is likely the largest collection in the world documenting the history of Smokey Bear and containing a large variety of materials,” says Susan H. Fugate, head of NAL’s Special Collections Division.
The complete U.S. Forest Service Smokey Bear Collection is housed on more than 115 feet of shelf space and in 26 map drawers filled with posters, drawings, and other flat memorabilia spanning 75 years. The collection also includes official letters, photographs, and sound recordings, as well as licensed merchandise, including sports pennants, team photos with Smokey, trading cards, buttons, and pins. While only a fraction of the collection will be on display in August, researchers are welcome to make an appointment weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to noon or from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., excluding federal holidays, to see these rare items.