The Centennial Celebration of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), formerly known as the Bureau of Standards (NBS), takes place in the year 2001. NIST has a long history (>50 years) of crystallographic research, and has made significant contributions to the advancement of the field of crystallography, biology and the material sciences. Many scientists from various divisions in diverse disciplines have contributed to this history. The research has been carried out as a fundamental part of the overall mission of NBS/NIST and has become an integral part of many aspects of its research programs. A special symposium to celebrate this occasion took place at the 2001 annual meeting of the American Crystallographic Association in Los Angeles, July 22 to 26. The purpose of the symposium was to give a broad-stroke outline of some of this research. This brief report summarizes the highlights of the symposium.