Greetings from the SmithsonianA Postcard History

See how Washington, DC and Smithsonian visitors have shared their trips with others by taking a historic look at the Smithsonian through the picture postcard.

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In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Smithsonian participated in numerous international world’s fairs and expositions. The Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1915 held in San Francisco, California, was intended celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal, as well as to illustrate the function and administrative faculty of the Government of the United States, and to demonstrate the nature and growth of its institutions, their adaptation to the wants of the people, and the progress of the nation in the arts of peace and war. It also marked the city of San Francisco’s recovery from the devastating earthquake of 1906. The Smithsonian Institution contributed an exhibit to the exposition focusing primarily on ethnology.
These postcards are only a small sample of the postcards the Archives has from the Panama-Pacific Exposition. More can be found in Record Unit 70 – Smithsonian Institution, Exposition Records of the Smithsonian Institution and the United States National Museum, 1867-1940, Box 87, Folder: 9A.