Fire in Smithsonian Institution Building

ID: 37082 or MAH-37082

Creator: Gardner, Alexander 1821-1882

Form/Genre: Photographic print

Date: January 24, 1865

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 30, Folder: 9

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People are visible standing around watching the burning of the Smithsonian Institution Building, the "Castle," January 24, 1865. The photograph was taken and heavily retouched by Alexander Gardner, as he painted flames on the photographic print.


  • Smithsonian Institution Building (Washington, D.C.)
  • Harper's Weekly


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


Engraving made from this retouched photograph was published in Harper's Weekly, February 1865. For engraving, see Neg. No. 2002-12222. The Harper's Weekly image has the entire building consumed in flames, inaccurate since the east wing did not sustain much damage.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 95, Box 30, Folder: 9

Contact information

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


January 24, 1865

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Museum buildings
  • Architecture
  • Disasters
  • Fire
  • Accidents
  • Buildings
  • Fires
  • Event


Washington (D.C.)


  • Photographic print
  • Event
  • Exterior

ID Number

37082 or MAH-37082

Physical description

Color: Black and White; Size: 11w x 9h; Type of Image: Event, Exterior; Medium: Photographic print

Full Record

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