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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James Smithson, Engraving from Medallion, by Burt, Charles, 1879, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, SIA2008-2446.

March 31, 1857

Personal effects of James Smithson, the Smithsonian's benefactor, are removed from the Patent Office Building and deposited in the Regents' Room at the Smithsonian Institution Building.More

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