SI Given Use of Armory Building

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United States Congress grants to the Smithsonian, for storage purposes, the use of the Armory Building on the southern side of the Mall between Sixth and Seventh streets. The four-story building is assigned in 1877 to the United States National Museum which fills it from "top to bottom" with collections, including those from the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876. The building was originally erected in 1856 for the use of local volunteers and militia and as a repository of military trophies of the Revolutionary and other wars as well as for newly invented and model arms.


  • Armory Building
  • United States National Museum
  • United States Congress
  • Centennial Exhibition (1876 : Philadelphia, Pa.)


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • By 1882, the National Museum occupies only the fourth floor of the building. In 1903, the building is occupied as the headquarters of the U. S. Fish Commission.
  • Goode, George Brown, ed. The Smithsonian Institution, 1846-1896, The History of Its First Half Century. Washington, D.C.: De Vinne Press, 1897., p. 838
  • Rathbun, Richard. The United States National Museum: An Account of the Buildings Occupied by the National Collections, Washington, D.C., 1905. Reprinted from the Report of the U.S. National Museum for 1903, pp. 177-309., p. 236
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1878, p. 41
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1882, p. 6
  • 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. 742

Contact information

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


July 31, 1876


  • Antiquities
  • Architecture
  • Interagency Transfers
  • National Collections
  • Military
  • Buildings
  • Military history

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