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

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