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.
James Smithson (1765-1829) graduates from Pembroke College, Oxford University, with the degree of Master of Arts, where he excelled at chemistry and mineralogy. His name has not yet been changed from James Lewis Macie, which he continues to use until about 1800.More
The Smithsonian’s Second Secretary Spencer Fullerton Baird dedicated his career to creating a great national museum at the Smithsonian, the U.S. National Museum that opened in 1881. Learn about Baird and the fulfillment of his dreams.