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I do! History-loving couple gets engaged at the museum

Getting to know the museum's donors and council members is one of my favorite parts of being the manager of the Smithsonian Council for American History. I love how passionate these folks are about history and the museum. Of course, I never expected that passion to turn into a marriage proposal. When Damon Dillon reached out to ask for help popping the question to council member Marci McCarthy at their beloved Smithsonian, I was thrilled to help.

The happy couple on the museum's terrace

Damon and Marci on the terrace with the Smithsonian Castle in the background

Marci loves many parts of the museum, but the location needed to be perfect. Damon and I toured the museum and ended up on the fifth floor roof terrace, a staff-only space offering stunning views and privacy.

Damon knew this was the spot, but how could we get Marci to the roof? We quickly decided that Damon and Marci should attend our FOOD in the Garden program on a Thursday evening in September. But we still needed to explain why Damon was in touch with museum staff.

Damon told Marci he had been in contact to ask for a connection to a local historical foundation. The story went that, in the course of these e-mails, we invited Damon and Marci to attend FOOD in the Garden and to view some political campaign material behind-the-scenes—in a room that happened to have access to the terrace. Museum staff would bring them upstairs and act surprised that there were no objects set up. The staff would go "check on the curator" while they enjoyed the terrace.

As planned, Damon and Marci met my colleague Jennifer before FOOD in the Garden and headed to the Board Room which would lead to the terrace. When Jennifer went in search of the wandering curator, Damon got down on one knee. With a view of the Smithsonian Castle in one direction and the Washington Monument in the other, Marci, of course, said yes!

The happy couple after the proposal

Damon and Marci on the balcony after the proposal

Damon couldn’t have picked a better location. Marci later e-mailed that the museum, "has always held a special place in my heart so being there made it extra special. It is especially exciting for my family with whom I would visit the Smithsonian each year when I was growing up." Great job, Damon!

Enjoying Food in the Garden

Marci and Damon at the FOOD in the Garden event in Victory Garden after he proposed 
Photo credit: Hugh Talman

Marci and Damon, on behalf of your museum and Council family, congratulations! It meant so much to us that the museum could play a special role in this momentous day in your lives and we are humbled to have been able to help!

Marci's passion for history inspired her to join the Smithsonian Council for American History in 2013. The Council provides essential funding to the museum to preserve its national treasures. Learn more about the Council and how you can be part of this national group of history enthusiasts, or contact Lauren Collette, Manager of the Smithsonian Council for American History, at ColletteL@si.edu.

Posted in Donor Spotlight