Exterior of A&I Building After Opening

ID: 2002-10706 and MAH-2887

Creator: Unknown (Thomas W. Smillie?)

Form/Genre: Exterior

Date: c. 1883

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 32, Folder: 8

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The exterior to the north side of the newly completed United States National Museum Building, now the Arts and Industries Building (A&I) designed by architects Cluss and Schulze. Ground breaking ceremony was held on April 17, 1879. Second Secretary of the Smithsonian Spencer F. Baird assembled a distinguished Building Committee that included General Meigs and General William Tecumseh Sherman. Baird and his building committee worried over every detail of construction. The building was completed by 1881, on schedule and within budget. Per square foot, it was the cheapest permanent government building ever built. It had 80,000 square feet of exhibit space. Note grillwork of the original gates of the north entrance.


  • Arts and Industries Building North Front
  • United States National Museum
  • Cluss & Schulze


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


The original negative number is MAH-2887. Negative number MAH-2888 shows similar driveway state, and light posts flanking north entrance, but more windows have awnings and there is a garden cart leaning against the facade.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 32, Folder: 8

Contact information

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


c. 1883

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Museum buildings
  • Architecture
  • Grounds
  • New Museums
  • SI Buildings
  • Gates


  • District of Columbia
  • Southwest
  • United States of America
  • Washington
  • Arts and Industries Building


  • Exterior
  • Photographic print
  • Architecture

ID Number

2002-10706 and MAH-2887

Physical description

Color: Black and White; Size: 10w x 8h; Type of Image: Architectural; Medium: Photographic print

Full Record

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