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.
Congress authorizes the use of the old Patent Office Building by the Smithsonian to house the National Collection of Fine Arts, now the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery. After extensive renovations, the Museums will open in 1968.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.