These records reflect the growing scope and complexity of the Smithsonian during Ripley's tenure. They document the Smithsonian's changing administrative structure;
growing relationships with universities, foundations, and other external groups; efforts to attract more government support for the Smithsonian; pursuit of new initiatives
and programs; and the regular administrative activities of the Institution. The records for this period document the opening of the National Museum of History and Technology
(now the National Museum of American History); creation of the Office of Academic Studies and the Office of Smithsonian Symposia and Seminars; founding of the Smithsonian
Resident Associate Program; establishment of the Chesapeake Bay Center for Environmental Studies; opening of east and west wings of the National Museum of Natural History;
opening of the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum; beginning of the Festival of American Folklife; opening of the National Portrait Gallery; establishment of the Woodrow Wilson
International Center for Scholars; formation of the Smithsonian National Associates Program; and the opening of the Renwick Gallery.
In 1964 S. Dillon Ripley, formerly a Professor of Biology at Yale University and Director of its Peabody Museum of Natural History, succeeded Leonard Carmichael as
eighth Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.