The Smithsonian at the Turn of the Century

Smithsonian Institution Building and The Mall

Smithsonian Institution Building seen from The Mall The Smithsonian Institution Building is the original building of the Smithsonian and was completed in 1855. At the turn of the century it housed part of the United States National Museum, the International Exchange Service, offices and scientific research laboratories.
Visitors to the Main Hall of the Smithsonian Institution Building could view the exhibits of birds and mollusks. Note the curatorial work spaces on the second floor gallery. Great Hall of the Smithsonian Institution Building
West Wing of the Smithsonian Institution Building The Lower Invertebrates exhibition can be seen in the West Wing of the Smithsonian Institution Building. Plaster casts of an octopus (right rear) and a giant squid (left) were suspended from the ceiling. On display is an array of neatly labeled marine invertebrates.
The Children's Room, an exhibit which was designed especially for children, opened in the Smithsonian Institution Building in 1901. The natural history display was created by Secretary Samuel P. Langley to give children a better museum experience. The room was designed with a ceiling covered with a stenciled leaf-covered trellis with birds peering down, and live fish and birds were placed on display to enhance children's interests in natural history. Labels with Latin names on them were dispensed with and written in language children could understand. Children's Room, South Tower, SIB
International Exchange Service in basement of SIB A large operation taking place at the Smithsonian Institution at the turn of the century was the International Exchange Service. The Exchange distributed research publications to and from institutions and governments from all over the world. In 1900 it handled 117,492 packages weighing 418,935 pounds. The Exchange work room was in the basement of the Smithsonian Institution Building. Here IES staff are surrounded by mountains of packages awaiting shipment.
What is known as The Mall today was known in 1900 as the Smithsonian Park. The park was filled with large trees, winding paths, and rolling hills. The beautiful chestnut trees were destroyed by a blight a few years later.The Mall at the turn of the century
North Entrance to the Smithsonian Institution Building looking out onto the Mall Looking out at the Smithsonian Park from the North Carriage Porch of the Smithsonian Institution Building. The park provided a pleasant rest spot for visitors to the capital.

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~ Beginning ~ Smithsonian Institution Building and the Mall ~ United States National Museum ~
~ National Zoological Park ~ Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory ~
~ Langley and the Aerodrome ~ Pan-American Exposition ~ Facts & Figures ~

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