Dear 2017 Smithsonian Digitization Fair Attendee,
It is with great regret that we have decided to cancel the Fair and reschedule it in the Fall.
As you may have heard, a severe winter storm is due to hit the Northeast region of the US starting Monday evening (March 13) and continuing into Tuesday (March 14.) Washington, D.C. is in the path of this storm. Heavy snowfall and winds are predicted.
We know that many speakers and attendees are traveling from afar and may already have begun their journeys or have arrived in Washington, D.C. by now. Our speakers and panelists also have spent considerable time in developing their presentations for this event and our sponsors were looking forward to meeting with everyone and engaging with the cultural heritage community.
We have made this decision based on safety considerations and the following factors:
Weather predictions continue to forecast hazardous conditions on Tuesday and hazardous ice conditions on Wednesday. Such conditions suggest many registrants from the local and Northeast region will not be able to travel to the Fair.
Depending on the impact of the storm, the federal government may choose to close all government buildings, or (more likely) call for a delayed opening (which means federal buildings will not open until several hours later than usual.) Either of these options presents logistical obstacles: a closure means our venue (the National Museum of Natural History) is unavailable, and a delayed opening means our venue would not open until a much later time in the day, making the running of a full program impossible.
Support staff critical to running the Fair (e.g., security staff, catering, registration desk staff) may not be able to get into the city.
All these factors were weighed carefully and led us to make this decision. We truly regret this inconvenience. I know everyone at the Smithsonian was looking forward to this event with great excitement and anticipation, hoping to spur conversations, glean new insights, and move forward in our work with increased zeal. We will be rescheduling the event in the Fall, and hope you will join us then.
If you are a Digitization Fair speaker or attendee who has already arrived in Washington, D.C. for the Fair, please let us know by emailing email@example.com.
I thank you for your understanding.
Diane Zorich | Director
Smithsonian Institution | Digitization Program Office