The Section of Photography of the United States National Museum

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  • Author relates the general details of a collection being prepared at the United States National Museum to display the history of photography from its early days to 1911, when the article was written by the Smithsonian Institution's first photographer. The exhibit was being arranged in chronological order, beginning with the first permanent photograph made in 1824 by Niepce, followed by a succession of photographs to evidence progress made over the years in photographic development and technique. The author states that specimens for the National Museum had begun to be collected 35 years prior, and mentions that the collection also included 250 items of photographic equipment, such as the first camera made in the United States in 1839.
  • He makes the admission, however, that the collection was lacking in terms of then current-day photographs, which prompts him to suggest that the museum allow prize pictures from important photographic societies to become a permanent part of the collection.


  • Smillie, T. W (Thomas William) 1843-1917
  • United States National Museum
  • Photography, Section of
  • Division of Photographic History
  • National Museum of American History (U.S.) (NMAH)


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography


Article includes four photographs from the National Museum collection, and one photo of a Daguerreotype camera.

Contained within

American Photography (Journal)

Contact information

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


September 1911


  • Photography
  • Equipment
  • Exhibitions
  • Photographic artifacts
  • Photographic collections
  • National Collections
  • Photography--Equipment and supplies
  • Photography--Exhibitions
  • Photographs

Physical description

pp. 514-516

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