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 Forum Topic

Get updates on our amazing collections!

Today in Smithsonian History

Map Tracking a Tornado, by Lapham, Increase Allen 1811-1875, August 21, 1857, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, SIA2010-0732.

August 21, 1857

A tornado passes through the counties of Columbia, Dodge and Washington in Wisconsin on August 21, 1857.  The tornado was observed and tracked by  A. Lapham of Milwaukee, a volunteer for the Smithsonian's Meteorological Project. The Smithsonian Meteorological Project, begun by first Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry, uses a countrywide network of volunteer observers to record climate information and send it to the Smithsonian via the growing telegraph network.  The project existed from 1846-1870 and led to the founding of the National Weather Service.More

Featured Exhibit