The Reading Room will be closed January 16, 19 and 20 due to the Federal Holiday and Inaugural activities.

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.


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Today in Smithsonian History

Workroom for Indian Ethnology, A&I Building

January 17, 1883

Due to ever-growing collections, the Smithsonian Board of Regents presents a resolution to the U.S. Congress requesting an appropriation of $300,000 to enlarge the U.S. National Museum by erection of a fireproof building on the southwest corner of the Smithsonian Reservation.  This request is less than two years after the National Museum Building, now the Arts and Industries Building, is opened.  It was not until 1902 that Congress appropriated funding for a new U.S. National Museum, now the National Museum of Natural History.More

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