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.
Smithsonian photographer Thomas William Smillie purchases the first item in the history of photography collection, a daguerreotype apparatus used by Samuel F. B. Morse, one of America's first photographic enthusiasts.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.