Reptile House, National Zoo

ID: 2002-10616

Creator: Unknown

Form/Genre: Photographic print

Date: 1940

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives Record Unit 95 Box 35 Folder 11

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The Reptile House, opened to the public in 1931, was designed by Albert Harris and was the centerpiece of Director William M. Mann's new zoo. Mann sought to make the National Zoological Park the finest and most modern in the world. To that end, he and Municipal Architect Albert Harris traveled to Europe in the Spring of 1929 to study the latest in zoo design, focusing in particular on Reptile Houses. When completed, it was the largest building in the zoo, and was awarded the Best Brick Building of the year (by the AIA?). The building featured a highly ornamental marble porch entrance, decorated with reptilian figures.


  • Harris, Albert L
  • Mann, William M. 1886-1960
  • National Zoological Park (U.S.) Reptile House
  • National Zoological Park (U.S.)


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


Original negative number is 2085, but that negative has been lost.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives Record Unit 95 Box 35 Folder 11

Contact information

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



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  • Reptiles
  • Zoos
  • Animals
  • Architecture
  • Openings
  • Buildings


  • Photographic print
  • Architecture

ID Number


Physical description

Color: Black and White; Type of Image: Architectural; Medium: Photographic print

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