Welcome to the Smithsonian of yesterday. This site will take you on a visual tour of the Smithsonian Institution from its founding to today, from the museums on the Mall in Washington, D.C., to museums in New York City, astrophysical observatories in Massachusetts and Arizona, a tropical biology station in Panama, a marine biology station in Florida, to an environmental research center on the Chesapeake Bay. These images will give you a look "behind the scenes" at the Institution and a look back at its past.
The Historic Pictures of the Smithsonian Institution website was created by Jennifer A. Nichols of the Institutional History Division, with assistance by Pamela M. Henson. To learn more about the Institutional History Division and its programs or about the history of the Smithsonian Institution, visit the Institutional History Division homepage.
All of these images come from the collections of the Smithsonian Institution Archives. The SIA contains all of the records of the history of the Institution from its founding. These images are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without the permission of the Smithsonian Institution Archives. This site gives you a glimpse of the many images preserved in our collections. Copyright and citation information is available for each image.
The images are presented in thumbnail format to reduce downloading time. If you click on the image, a full screen version will appear. All images may be ordered from the Smithsonian's Office of Imaging, Printing and Photographic Services.
Nearly all Smithsonian Institution museums and research centers are listed below and grouped by discipline. Those not currently represented in this collection will be added as more photographs are uncovered. Click on the image map, on the list of museums and research centers, or on the photo album to begin your tour.