Great Hall of Smithsonian Castle Opens to Public




Date: February 8, 1855


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The Great Hall of the Smithsonian Institution Building is opened to the public, occupied by the Metropolitan Mechanics' Institute fair. Secretary Joseph Henry is the president of the Institute.


  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Metropolitan Mechanics' Institute
  • Smithsonian Institution Building (Washington, D.C.)


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Engraving of the Great Hall in the Smithsonian Institution Building or Castle, c. 1857. Smithsonian Institution Archives, negative number 91-17967.
  • Source cited is the earliest known instance of the use of "Great Hall" to describe the ground floor of the Smithsonian Institution Building. A logbook containing the minutes of the Metropolitan Mechanics Institute in located in the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
  • W.W. Turner to J.R. Bartlett, January 31, 1855, J.C. Brown Library, Brown University (copy JHP 24500)

Contact information

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


February 8, 1855


  • Architecture
  • Openings
  • Fairs
  • Smithsonian Institution Building
  • Special events
  • Buildings
  • Smithsonian Institution Building--Early History

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