Color Image of the Smithsonian Castle on Fire

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Colored in photograph of the Smithsonian Institution Building or "Castle" on fire in 1865. People are visible standing around watching the burning of the Smithsonian Institution Building, the "Castle," January 24, 1865. The photograph was taken and heavily retouched by Alexander Gardner, where he painted flames on the photographic print. It is mounted on paper.


  • Harper's Weekly
  • Smithsonian Institution Building (Washington, D.C.)


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


  • Engraving made from this retouched photograph was published in Harper's Weekly, February 1865. For engraving, see Negative Number 2002-12222. The Harper's Weekly image has the entire building consumed in flames, inaccurate since the east wing did not sustain much damage.
  • For a black and white photographic print with the Negative Number 37082 or MAH-37082.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 30, Folder: 9

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


January 24, 1865

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Museum buildings
  • Architecture
  • Disasters
  • Fire
  • Accidents
  • Fires
  • Buildings
  • Event


Washington (D.C.)


  • Exterior
  • Photographic print
  • Paper

ID Number


Physical description

Number of Images: 1; Color: Color; Size: 11.6w x 9.7h; Type of Image: Exterior; Medium: Paper; Photographic Print

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