James Smithson Crypt, Smithsonian Institution Building, or Castle

ID: SIA RU000095 [SIA_000095_B31_F32_001]

Creator: United States National Museum Photographic Laboratory

Form/Genre: Black-and-white photographs

Date: 1905

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 31, Folder 32, Image No. SIA_000095_B31_F32_001

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Interior view, crypt containing the body of founder James Smithson at the North Tower entrance of the Smithsonian Institution Building, or Castle.


  • Smithson, James 1765-1829
  • Smithsonian Institution Building (Washington, D.C.)


  • USNM No. 17041
  • Smithson's remains were brought to the United States by Smithsonian Regent Alexander Graham Bell in 1904, when the Protestant Cemetery in Genoa, Italy, where Smithson was buried, was to be moved. Many plans were made for an elaborate memorial to the Institution's benefactor, but the lack of an appropriation dictated a more modest course. Smithson's marker from the Italian gravesite was incorporated into the room, and a gate was fashioned from pieces of the fence that had surrounded the site. Architects Hornblower and Marshall redesigned the room to give it a more somber classical feeling, replacing the ceiling, windows, and the floor.

Cite as

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 31, Folder 32, Image No. SIA_000095_B31_F32_001

Repository Loc.

Smithsonian Institution Archives Capital Gallery, Suite 3000, MRC 507; 600 Maryland Avenue, SW; Washington, DC 20024-2520



Restrictions & Rights

  • No access restrictions. Many of SIA's holdings are located off-site, and advance notice is recommended to consult a collection. Please email the SIA Reference Team at osiaref@si.edu
  • No Copyright - United States




Black-and-white photographs

Local number

SIA RU000095 [SIA_000095_B31_F32_001]

Physical description

Gelatin silver prints; 8 x 10;

Full Record

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