On March 4, 1881 the Smithsonian Institution's United States National Museum [Arts and Industries Building] opened its doors for the first time to celebrate the inauguration of President James A. Garfield. The museum, not yet finished, installed a temporary wood floor so that guests could enjoy the ornate architecture designed by Adolph Cluss and Rudolph Schulz. The 7,000 guests entered the celebration for Garfield and his Vice President Chester A. Arthur through the north side entrance. The museum's halls and rotunda were all open for dancing and were decorated with coats of arms from different states, images of Garfield and Arthur, and banners. The central rotunda included the "Statue of America," holding an electric light to symbolize the progress of the nation.
Click on the Floor Plan to See Images of the Ball
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