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Oral History Project | Women of the Senate

Diane Skvarla Office of Senate Curator (1979–1990; 1994–2014)

Diane Skvarla with Thomas A. Daschle (D-SD)

Diane Skvarla began her career in the Senate as an intern in the Office of Senate Curator in 1979. After years serving as museum specialist, exhibits coordinator, and then associate curator, Skvarla left the Senate to pursue a career in equestrian instruction. Luckily for the Senate, she found her way back to the curator’s office a few years later and soon after became the Senate curator. Skvarla oversaw the increased professionalization of the curatorial staff in the areas of collections management, preservation, and restoration. Among the many projects completed under her guidance were the restoration of the Old Senate Chamber, publication of the Senate’s Catalogue of Fine Art and Catalogue of Graphic Art, and the opening of Exhibition Hall in the Capitol Visitor Center. As a Senate staffer during the 1980s and ’90s and as head of a Senate department in the first decades of the 21st century, Skvarla provides a unique perspective on the changing role of women in the Senate.

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Scholarly citation: "Diane Skvarla, Office of Senate Curator, 1979–1990, 1994–2014," Oral History Interview, October 17, 2018, Senate Historical Office, Washington, D.C.

Disclaimer: The Senate Historical Office has a strong commitment to oral history as an important part of its efforts to document institutional change over time. Oral histories are a natural component to historical research and enhance the archival holdings of the Senate and its members. Oral histories represent the personal recollections and opinions of the interviewees, however, and should not be considered as the official views or opinions of the U.S. Senate, of the Senate Historical Office, or of other senators and/or staff members. The transcripts of these oral histories are made available by the Senate Historical Office as a public service.