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Smithsonian Institution

At the turn of the century, visitors are entering and leaving the United States National Museum Building, now Arts and Industries Building, via the North Entrance. The entrance has glass doors, which dates it to before the Hornblower and Marshall designed doors installed between 1902-1907

Visitors Head to the Smithsonian in the Early 1900s

This is an old photograph we dug up on the Smithsonian’s Flickr feed. It shows a crowd of people near the entrance to the Arts and Industries Building, around 1905.
Smithsonian Castle between 1860 and 1865

Amazing Photograph of the Smithsonian Castle

Thank you Shorpy for an amazing photograph. This appears to be a photo we haven’t yet seen.
West-southwest view with Maryland Ave. SW and B Street SW

1863 View Down Maryland Ave.

Wow, check out this amazing view. We dug up this gem on the Library of Congress site. The full caption is below. West-southwest view with Maryland Ave. SW and B Street SW (i.e., Independence Ave. SW) to the left, Maine...
Capitalsaurus Court street sign

Capitalsaurus: Official Dinosaur of the District (Seriously)

Workers were digging a sewer trench beneath a Capitol Hill street in 1898.  They came upon a few fossil fragments — among them, a 6-inch bone that now represents the largest piece of the District’s controversial “official dinosaur,” the Capitalsaurus....
Daniel H. Riggs, Howard University Medicine, in the South Yard of the Smithsonian Institution Building, stands next to his carriage. Picture shows the East Wing after Adolph Cluss' 1884 renovation. Against the building are sheds, used by the Department of Living Animals, 1887-1890 (Smithsonian Archives)

Doctor and His Carriage at the Smithsonian

Here’s a photograph from 1890 which shows Dr. Daniel H. Riggs of Howard University posing next to his carriage near the Smithsonian. In 1893, the doctor was the defendant in a malpractice lawsuit. The Post reported on the suit on...
Alligators in their enclosure in the original Animal House, also known as the Carnivora House, which opened in 1892 and was the first permanent building at the National Zoological Park. The alligators are housed in the "temporary" wooden wing of the structure (Smithsonian)

Proposed National Zoo in Rock Creek Park

We are a great nation and Americans in the 1880s were proud of their rapidly growing and dominant country. But how can you truly be a great nation without a national zoo to show off all the wonderful creatures that...
Smithsonian Castle in the 1870s (Shorpy)

The Smithsonian’s English Birth

Some of you may not be aware of this, but an Englishman, who had never set foot in America, provided the financial backing for the nation’s greatest museum: The Smithsonian Institution. James Smithson was a wealthy man from across the...
Hirshhorn Museum construction 1972

All Eyes On The Hirshhorn, But It Wasn’t Always Pretty (Or Round)

This is a guest post by Aaron. Art fans will focus Thursday night on the outer walls of the Hirshhorn Museum.  Eleven video projectors will paint the Smithsonian’s modern and contemporary ring with 360 degrees of a looping film called, “SONG...
National Zoo lions

Lion Eats Woman At National Zoo

Here is a recent crazy story … very crazy. This one is from March of 1995, so I’m guessing there are a few of you who remember this. In the spring of that year, Margaret Davis King, 36, had arrived...