Archives Puzzles: Exhibiting Baird

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Each Monday, sit back, relax, and ease into the work week with puzzles created from images in our collections that have been designated as open access. Anyone can now download, transform, share, and reuse these images as part of Smithsonian Open Access, launched in 2020.

On May 17, 1878, the Smithsonian Board of Regents unanimously elected Spencer Fullerton Baird as the second Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. The decision was kind of a no-brainer. Baird was the Smithsonian’s first-ever curator and his passion for collections and public education resulted in a U.S. National Museum. As Secretary, Baird oversaw the construction of the new museum, now the Arts and Industries Building, and welcomed live animals on the grounds, the popularity of which eventually became the inspiration for the National Zoological Park

In his more than 30 years with the Smithsonian, Baird transformed the Institution into a place that welcomed the public. More than 100 years after his election as Secretary, the Smithsonian honored Baird’s legacy with an exhibit display, pictured below, in the Smithsonian Institution Building, also known as the Castle.

The Original

Two exhibit cases on either side of a tall panel that reads: In tribute...Spencer Fullerton Baird 18

The Puzzle

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