A Descriptive Account of the Building Recently Erected for the Departments of Natural History of the United States National Museum

Usage Conditions Apply
The Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes personal and educational use of its collections unless otherwise noted. For commercial uses, please contact photos@si.edu.

Narrow Your Results


Filter Your Results

Smithsonian Secretaries Information

Close Browse records and papers of the Smithsonian Secretaries, from 1846 until today. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by individuals who have held that office.

Expeditions Information

Close Browse records and papers documenting scientific and collecting expeditions either affiliated with the Smithsonian, or with which Smithsonian researchers participated. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by geographic regions predominantly represented in expedition records.

Professional Societies Information

Close Browse records of professional societies closely associated with the Smithsonian, that focus on areas of scientific research and museum studies. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by major topics and disciplines.


Introduction covers the history of the United States National Museum and the need for construction of another building to house the National Collections. Discusses the construction of every facet of the building in detail, specifying the materials used and giving detailed measurements. There is an extensive section on windows, doors, stairs, elevators, lavatories, tunnels, mechanical equipment, electrical equipment (including lights and outlets), ventilation, and water connections and the sewage system. Work continues with explanation of what each part of the building was to contain, including analysis of the shops and laboratories, and the number and types of shelves and cabinets. There is a description of each of the stories of the building, including the attic, and interior measurements of the building (including square feet of available floor space).


  • United States National Museum
  • Board of Regents
  • United States Patent Office
  • National Museum of Natural History (U.S.)
  • Armory Building
  • Natural History Building


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography


Includes photographs of the Natural History Building (exterior, interior, offices and exhibits), all found in the Collection of the Office of Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 79. Also includes floorplans, drawings, and a comprehensive index.

Contained within

Bulletin of the United States National Museum, no. 80 (Book)

Contact information

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




  • Architecture
  • Vertebrates, Fossil
  • Picture Gallery
  • SI, Early History
  • Museums
  • Mammals
  • Design
  • Marine invertebrates
  • Animals
  • Carpenter Shop
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Exhibitions
  • Art Hall
  • National Collections
  • Offices
  • Building
  • Buildings
  • Architectural design
  • Photographs
  • Facilities
  • Museum exhibits

Full Record

View Full Record