Children's Room in Smithsonian Institution Building, 1901

ID: 13383 or 85-7818

Creator: Unknown (Thomas W. Smillie?)

Form/Genre: Photographic print

Date: 1901

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 41, Folder: 8

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The Children's Room in the South Tower of the Smithsonian Institution Building, was created by third Secretary Samuel P. Langley (1887-1906) as a natural history display area especially for children. Grace Lincoln Temple designed the decorative scheme of the room, which featured a stenciled Celtic wall frieze of stylized birds and an elaborate painted ceiling of a leaf-covered trellis with birds peering down. To enhance children's interest in natural history, Langley had live birds and fish placed in the room, visible in the photograph. He also designed the large kaleidoscope at right, which had live fish swimming in the triangular tank at the end. The Latin labels common in the rest of the museum were not used.


  • Smithsonian Institution Building (Washington, D.C.)
  • Smithsonian Institution Building South Towers
  • Smithsonian Institution Building Children's Room


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


See Field, Stamm, and Ewing 1993, The Castle, pp. 126-130; Mary McCutcheon, "The Children's Room at the Smithsonian: 1901 to 1939," Curator, vol. 35, no. 1 (March 1992). In the SIA, RU55, B17 concerns the Children's Room; Grace Lincoln Temple's papers are in the Division of Political History at NMAH (cat. 258604.2). See also Linda NeCastro's "Grace Lincoln Temple and the Smithsonian's Children's Room of 1901" (M.A. thesis, Bryn Mawr College, 1988). AR 1901: This photo is also neg. # 85-7818.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 41, Folder: 8

Contact information

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



Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


Temple, Grace Lincoln


  • Photographic print
  • Interior
  • Exhibit

ID Number

13383 or 85-7818

Physical description

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

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