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.


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Freer Gallery of Art Groundbreaking, by Unknown, 1916, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, 2002-10692.

September 23, 1916

At the groundbreaking for the Freer Gallery of Art, Acting Secretary Richard Rathbun gives a brief address and turns the first shovel full of earth to start the construction of the new Museum.More

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