'Days of our Lives' Artifacts Donated to Smithsonian's National Museum of American History (Photos/Audio)

Diedre Hall, Greg Meng, Susan Seaforth-Hayes and ceremony host Tippi
Hedren with items from Days of our Lives. Photo Credit: Lisa England
On Wednesday, November 4, 2015, The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History added artifacts that reflect the contributions of daytime television programming to the national entertainment collection in a ceremony that continues an ongoing partnership with the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS).

The donation from NBC soap opera Days of our Lives, which is marking 50 years on the air, included show scripts, original art and other memorabilia, including sets of Horton family Christmas ornaments and a pledge of the iconic hourglass that opens each episode. Actresses Deidre Hall (Dr. Marlena Evans) and Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie Williams) and Executive Producer Greg Meng, who wrote a book about the show's 50th anniversary, presented the objects.

The ceremony continued a collecting initiative established in 2013 between the National Museum of American History and NATAS to help the museum tell the story of daytime television.

“Since its advent in the 1940s, television has become integral to American culture,” said John Gray, director of the museum. “By adding the contributions of daytime television to our collections, we are recognizing television's influence on everyday life and capacity to explore national values such as democracy, opportunity and innovation.”

Greg Meng looks on as Susan Seaforth-Hayes speaks to
attendees about the history of Days of our Lives.
Photo Credit: Lisa England
“Everyone at NATAS is thrilled to continue our relationship with the Smithsonian and daytime television by bringing these iconic items and stars from Days of Our Lives to the museum,” said Chuck Dages, chairman of NATAS.

Actress Tippi Hedren served as Master of Ceremonies. Perhaps best known as one of Alfred Hitchcock's legendary blondes, Hedren is also an established daytime TV actress, having played Helen Maclaine in The Bold and the Beautiful. In addition, she is one of the “Legendary Ladies of Stage and Screen” who donated items from her career to the museum's entertainment collections, contributing original scripts from The Birds and Marnie.

Among the Days of our Lives artifacts are an original script with the episode number 7435 that depicts the Marlena Evans (played by Hall) possession storyline with director's notes. The script includes notations of the tape dates as November 19 and 21, 1994, and the air date as December 23, 1994. Also included are the Horton family's Christmas ornaments; hanging the ornaments is a Horton Christmas tradition that began in 1966. Following the donation ceremony, Greg Meng, Deidre HallHall, Susan Seaforth Hayes, Bill Hayes (Doug Williams) and Bryan Dattilo (Lucas Horton), signed "Days of our Lives: 50 Years" outside the Warner Bros. Theater. The book presents an in-depth look at the show’s history through full-color photographs and rare black-and-white historical images.

The museum's television collections contain costumes, scripts, props and set pieces, including Archie Bunker's chair from All in the Family, marionettes from The Howdy Doody Show, the “puffy shirt” from Seinfeld and Denis Leary's firefighter costume from Rescue Me. An exhibition exploring American culture is currently in development and will draw on the museum's television, theater, music, sports and entertainment collections. The exhibition is scheduled to open in 2018.

Check out more photos from the Days of our Lives ceremony below, and listen to an audio recording of the event, which kicks off with an introduction by Office of Public Affairs Director Melinda Machado.

Diedre Hall witnesses Greg Meng signing the Deed of Gift to The Smithsonian Institution for Curator Dwight Bowers. Photo Credit: Lisa England
NATAS reps Les Heintz, Tippi Hedren (Hostess), Barbara Williams Perry and David Michaels.  Photo Credit: Lisa England
NATAS Sr. VP David Michaes and Sr. Vice Chair, Barbara Williams Perry with Smithsonian Exec Director, John Gay. Photo Credit: Lisa England
The hourglass to be donated to the Smithsonian. Photo Credit: Lisa England
Photo Credit: Lisa England
Bryan Dattilo, Greg Men, Susan Seaforth Hayes and Bill Hayes. Photo Credit: Lisa England
Bryan Dattilo, Greg Men, Susan Seaforth Hayes and Bill Hayes. Photo Credit: Lisa England

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