Every Collection has a StoryThe Archives holds records that document the Smithsonian’s people, events, buildings, and research. The history of the Smithsonian is a vital part of the history of American experience, scientific exploration, and international cultural understanding.


Latest Blog Post
Latest Forum Topic

Get updates on our amazing collections!

Today in Smithsonian History

Major John Wesley Powell, by Sawyer ?, c. 1890s, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, 94-12600.

March 3, 1879

U.S. Congress appropriates $20,000 for the publication of contributions to North American Ethnology, provided that "all the archives, records, and materials relating to the Indians of North America, collected by the Geographical and Geological Survey of the Rocky Mountain Region, shall be turned over to the Smithsonian Institution, that the work may be completed and prepared for publication under its direction."  The Bureau of Ethnology, with Major John Wesley Powell as its head, is established to perform this work.More

Featured Exhibit