Note: The Arts and Industries Building is closed for renovation, but open for special events.
The Arts and Industries Building was the first building created solely to house the US National Museum. The museum’s collections had been housed in the Smithsonian Institution Building, or Castle since the 1850s, but had soon outgrown that space. Smithsonian Secretary Spencer F. Baird devoted his career to developing a great US National Museum at the Smithsonian, and this building was the culmination of his dreams. After the Centennial Exposition of 1876 in Philadelphia, many of the displays were donated to the Smithsonian, and some of the proceeds from the exposition were used to build a new museum building. After an architectural competition, the Board of Regents selected the architectural firm of Adolf Cluss and Paul Schulze for the new building. Secretary Baird, General Montgomery C. Meigs, General William Tecumseh Sherman, and Congressman Peter Parker composed the National Museum Building Commission which oversaw the project. General Meigs, a civil engineer educated at West Point, supervised the structural system and conducted a study of public museums in Europe.
- Chronology of the Arts and Industries Building
- Bibliography of the Arts and Industries Building
- Historic Images of the Arts and Industries Building
- Arts and Industries Building Records from the Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Historic Picture Highlights of the Arts and Industries Building
- Additional Records and Collections of the Arts and Industries Building from across the Smithsonian
- The U.S. National Museum in 1886, The 150th Anniversary of the Smithsonian Online Exhibition
- The Arts and Industries Building Webpage, Smithsonian Institution Architectural History and Historic Preservation
- Arts & Industries Building, Historic Structure Report, Executive Summary and Building History, Description and Significance, Smithsonian Institution Architectural History and Historic Preservation
- Current Information about the Arts & Industries Building