Ground breaking for National Museum Building




Date: April 17, 1879


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Ground is broken for construction of the U. S. National Museum building. Concrete foundations are begun on April 29th and the brick-work of the walls on May 21st. The main walls will be completed by November 1. The building was designed in High Victorian style by architect Adolf Cluss of Cluss & Schulze, with a symmetrical design and large open halls. It is situated to the west of the Smithsonian Institution Building or "Castle." This building is now known as the Arts and Industries Building.


  • Cluss, Adolph 1825-1905
  • Cluss & Schulze
  • Arts and Industries Building
  • United States National Museum


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Rendering of the new United States National Museum, now the Arts & Industries, building designed by architects Adolph Cluss and Rudolph Schulze, 1878. Smithsonian Institution Archives, negative number SIA2011-1079.
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1879, p. 127
  • Oehser, Paul H. The Smithsonian Institution. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970, p. 189

Contact information

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


April 17, 1879


  • Architecture
  • Groundbreaking
  • New Museums
  • Construction (Buildings)
  • Building

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