On June 20, 1911, construction of the brand new United States National Museum, now the National Museum of Natural History was finally completed. This was an accomplishment that was nine years in the making.
The United States National Museum was originally housed in the Arts and Industries Building until the collection grew too big for the space. As a result, in 1902, Congress passed legislation authorizing the creation of a new building across the National Mall to house and display collection materials. It took nearly two years for a plan for the new museum to be drawn up and approved, but on June 15, 1904, Secretary Samuel Pierpoint Langley broke ground on the site, and construction was officially underway. The foundation was dug by hand, with the occasional use of steam-powered back-hoes, and dirt was removed from the site by horse-drawn carriages. The first stone was officially laid on the foundation on August 21, 1905, more than a year after construction started. Even though construction was not complete until 1911, the museum opened to the public on March 17, 1910. In the 1930s, the creation of two new wings was approved, but that idea did not come to fruition until the 1960s because of a lack of funding. The museum as it looks today was completed in 1965.
Click through the slideshow to watch the building come to life!