If Walls Have Ears, Then Doors Speak

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Author is prompted to write this article when Office of Architectural History and Preservation staff is restoring what has been determined to be the only original door that still exists in the Smithsonian Institution's "Castle" Building. It is noted that the door was constructed along the specifications directed by the building's architect, James Renwick, Jr., and photographic evidence places the door in the West Tower doorway of the Commons when the library was completed in 1850. The door was to be catalogued as part of the Castle Collection and reinstalled.


  • Renwick, James 1818-1895
  • Castle Collection
  • Office of Architectural History and Historic Preservation (OAHHP)
  • Smithsonian Institution Building (Washington, D.C.)


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography


Article includes one ca. 1873 photograph that includes part of an original Castle door.

Contained within

Smithsonian Preservation Quarterly (Newsletter)

Contact information

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


Winter 1994


  • Architecture
  • Architects
  • SI, Early History

Physical description

p. 3

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