Smithsonian Institution

Anacostia Museum Director Remembered for Her Vision, Smile

A museum community has come together to honor the memory of Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum Director Lori Yarrish.

The 58-year-old died Monday after a brief illness. She was remembered by colleagues Wednesday as someone who loved everyone and lit up a room.

Yarrish was as memorable as some of the artifacts in the museum and was once named one of D.C.’s most powerful women in the arts.

“I’ve just never met anyone quite like her,” said docent Anastasia Johnson. “I just found her so delightful and so energetic, and like I said, she made you want to work a little harder.”

In an interview last year with News4, Yarrish said the museum and its artifacts capture the spirit of D.C. That’s because those who have donated artifacts or shared stories with the Smithsonian trusted that their stories would be faithfully told.

“She was just one of these warm, lovely people who lit up the room when she was there,” said Lisa Sasaki, director of the Smithsonian's Asian Pacific American Center.

Almost every staff member said they would miss Yarrish's smile and laugh.


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“She had the most infectious laugh in the world,” Sasaki said.

The museum's staff is determined to make Yarrish’s legacy live on as they continue its mission to capture the spirit of D.C.

“I think that would be something that Lori would be really proud of,” Sasaki said. “It just is really hard to know that she won’t be here to see all that amazing work happen.”

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