Distinction Between SI and USNM




Date: January 26, 1876


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Board of Regents appoints a special committee to consider the relationship between the Smithsonian Institution and the National Museum and to make appropriate recommendations. The following February 1, the committee recommends no action beyond making "the distinction between the Institution itself and the museum ... as prominent as possible." In his annual report for 1876, Secretary Joseph Henry again mentions his objections to the present connection of the Smithsonian and National Museum which requires annual appeals to Congress for appropriations to support the Museum, whereas no annual appropriation is necessary for carrying out the legitimate objects of the bequest. He sees it as an important first step toward recognizing the National Museum as a separate establishment when Congress first uses the wording, "for the National Museum in charge of the Smithsonian Institution," in an act making appropriations for deficiencies.


  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Board of Regents
  • United States National Museum
  • United States Congress


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • The West Range of the Smithsonian Institution Building, which had formerly served as part of the Gallery of Art, arranged to display ethnological specimens of North American Indian workmanship along with artifacts from China, Japan and prehistoric France for purposes of comparison. Along the arcades hang portraits depicting American Indian delegates, who visited Washington between 1858 and 1869, painted by United States National Museum artist Antonio Zeno Shindler. At the end of the hall hangs a large portrait of the French historian and statesman Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot painted by George Peter Alexander Healey, 1871. Smithsonian Institution Archives, negative number 95-20765.
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1875, p. 102
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1876, p. 11-13, 124-128
  • Rhees, William Jones. The Smithsonian Institution: Documents Relative to Its Origin and History: 1835-1899, Vol. 1, 1835-1887. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1901, p. 743

Contact information

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


January 26, 1876


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  • Expenditures, Public
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