Laboratory of Natural History Built

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A small, two-story brick building is constructed a near the southwestern corner of the Smithsonian Institution Building to be used as quarters for the preparators and photographer of the National Museum and for space to plan and construct exhibits for the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. It consists of a main structure, 30 by 27 feet, and two wings, the latter to be used as a stable and carriage house. Part of the construction expense is funded by an advance of $2,614 from the Smithson fund. In the 1881 Annual Report, Spencer F. Baird refers to the building as the Laboratory of Natural History.


  • Baird, Spencer Fullerton 1823-1887
  • Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology
  • Smithsonian Institution Building Laboratory of Natural History
  • United States Geological Survey (USGS)
  • Centennial Exhibition (1876 : Philadelphia, Pa.)


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Over the years various units will use the building, among them the photographers of the U.S. Geological Survey and the Bureau of American Ethnology, who will remain there until 1884.
  • 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 1875, p. 42, 109
  • Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year 1881, p. 12

Contact information

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




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  • Architecture
  • Laboratories
  • Finance
  • Interagency Relations
  • Anthropology
  • Ethnology
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