The United States National Museum: An Account of the Buildings Occupied by the National Collections

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  • Work is comprised of a history of the National Institution (National Institute) and Patent Office Collections, and Philadelphia Centennial collections, 1876. Work is essentially a historical account of the Smithsonian Institution Building (Castle), divided into annual increments, including construction details, reports on the Building Committee, and Congressional testimony. Explains what materials were used, about the laying of the cornerstone, details about the fire of 1865, and "alterations and repairs subsequent to 1877." There is also a detailed exploration of the exterior of the building (design, location and materials) and interior (arrangement of offices) and changes stemming from the fire. Includes discussion of windows, columns, etc. There are also sections on the natural history workshop and the Armory Building, which was also used by the United States Fish Commission. A significant portion of the work is devoted to a history of the Arts and Industries Building.
  • Explores the building, including analysis of problems and improvements and renovations. Gives an account of the temporary and rented buildings including the sheds in the South Yard, Astrophysical Observatory Buildings, and provides dates of occupation for all. Gives Congressional testimony on the construction of the new USNM building (NHB), and a description of the future building (work on the foundation of which had begun). Finally, provides square footage of floor space for all the buildings, including rented and temporary buildings, and lists departments, workshops and laboratories in each.


  • Smithsonian Institution Building (Washington, D.C.)
  • National Institution for the Promotion of Science
  • National Institute
  • United States National Museum
  • South Yard
  • United States Congress
  • Arts and Industries Building
  • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
  • Armory Building
  • Natural History Building


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography


Reprinted from the Report of the U. S. National Museum for 1903, pp. 177- 309. Includes page of addenda/errata. Includes interior and exterior photographs of the Smithsonian Institution Building, United States National Museum Building (Arts and Industries), and plans for the new USNM Building (Natural History Building)

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




  • Fire of 1865
  • Architecture
  • Laboratories
  • Outer space
  • Fire
  • Repair and reconstruction
  • Grounds
  • Construction (Buildings)
  • Accidents
  • Buildings
  • Buildings--Repair and reconstruction
  • Fires
  • Space
  • Facilities

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