October 1, 1987
A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans and the United States Constitution opens at the National Museum of American History. The exhibition is designed to focus attention on the Bicentennial of the Constitution and explores a period when racial prejudice and fear upset the balance between the rights of citizens and the power of the state and led to the internment of some 120,000 Japanese Americans for much of World War II. The exhibition also includes a section on the men in the 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team, an all-Japanese American unit of the U.S. Army.
October 2, 1975
Emperor Hirohito of Japan visits the National Museum of Natural History while he and Empress Nagako are in Washington on a tour of the United States. The Emperor, who is a marine biologist, conducts laboratory studies of a variety of marine specimens while at the Museum.
October 3, 1974
Sarah McClendon, journalist and radio and television newscaster, tours the Hall of News Reporting at the National Museum of American History with curator Peter Marzio. She also spoke to the exhibit docents about "Women in the News."
October 4, 1974
The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden opens to the public. It is the Smithsonian's museum for modern and contemporary art and is also known particularly for its extensive sculpture collection. The inaugural exhibition, representing highlights from the permanent collection, and including 900 works in all media, some of which had never before been exhibited, will run through September 15, 1975.
October 5, 1968
Opening ceremonies are held at the National Portrait Gallery. The museum collects and displays of paintings, sculptures, graphics, and photographs of men and women who have made significant contributions to the history, development, and culture of the United States. It is located in the former Patent Office Building, newly named the Fine Arts and Portraits Galleries, which it shares with the National Collection of Fine Arts, now the Smithsonian American Art Museum. On October 6, 1968, an opening is held for the Smithsonian Associates and on October 7, 1968, the Gallery is opened to the public.
October 6, 1981
Radio Smithsonian, produced by the Office of Telecommunications, broadcasts a nationwide program on Yorktown: Echoes of a Victory, as part of the Bicentennial celebration of the historic battle.
October 7, 1920
The steel hangarlike aircraft building (at Independence and Tenth Street S.W.) is opened to the public to exhibit aircraft and accessories produced during World War I. This metal structure, erected by the War Department on the Smithsonian Reservation in 1917 for the use of the United States Signal Service, was transferred to the custody of the Smithsonian Institution after the close of the war.
October 8, 1993
The United States Marshals Service donates a very rare 1946 Tucker automobile to the National Museum of American History transportation collection. Number 39 of only 51 such cars produced by the Tucker Corporation before it became embroiled in fraud allegations. The car was designed by Preston Tucker, Alex Tremulis, and a team of stylists and engineers. The car was seized in 1992 by the United States Marshals Service following a narcotics investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
October 9, 1979
Edison: Lighting a Revolution opens at the National Museum of History and Technology, now the National Museum of American History, in celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of Thomas Alva Edison's invention of the light bulb.
October 10, 1969
The largest show ever assembled of the work of artist Charles Sheeler opens to the public at the National Collection of Fine Arts, now the Smithsonian American Art Museum, on October 10 for six weeks. The retrospective includes 135 paintings and drawings and thirty-five photographs.
October 11, 1975
South America: Continent and Culture, a new permanent exhibit hall, opens at the National Museum of Natural History, the second of the reconstructed exhibit halls. It presents an ecological view of the diverse cultures of South America.
October 12, 1985
Shark! a permanent exhibition opens in the fossil hall of the National Museum of Natural History. The exhibition features the jaws of Carcharodon megalodon, the colossal ancestor of the modern great white shark.
October 13, 1993
The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute is awarded a three-year $900,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support initiatives in plant ecological research at this Panamanian field station.
October 14, 1983
Pain and Its Relief, an examination of mankind's attempts to understand, combat, and alleviate pain, opens at the National Museum of American History.
October 15, 1980
The Coral Reef: Researching a Living System opens at the National Museum of Natural History. The exhibition marks the first time it has been possible to keep a large reef community, including corals, alive and functioning in isolation from the sea. A laboratory area adjoins the exhibit where research is conducted on the reef system. This is the first time an actual research project has ever been located in the Museum exhibition area.
October 16, 1971
The Fort Pierce Bureau, a marine research facility in Florida, is established. It is created as a separate bureau under the Assistant Secretary for Science. In 1982 the facility became known as the Smithsonian Institution Marine Station at Link Port, and is administered by the National Museum of Natural History.
October 17, 1957
The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is able to record the first United States photograph of the Soviet satellite Sputnik, using a Baker Nunn camera. By mid-1958, the Observatory had its Satellite Tracking Program fully operational.
October 18, 1977
A seventy-five carat emerald, believed to have been owned by Abdul Hamid II of the Ottoman Empire, is given to the National Museum of Natural History's National Gem Collection by Mrs. Stewart Hooker of New York.
October 19, 1923
Local Washington radio station WRC, of the Radio Corporation of America, begins broadcasting a series of talks on the Smithsonian. The talks were so successful that a regular series on scientific subjects is initiated on April 9, 1924, with Austin H. Clark who gives a talk on "The Giants of the Animal World." The series runs for more than four years.
October 20, 1983
Robert Cornelius: Portraits from the Dawn of Photography opens at the National Portrait Gallery, devoted to the work of the pioneering daguerreotypist, Robert Cornelius.
October 21, 1993
Willem de Kooning from the Hirshhorn Museum Collection, opens at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and will last through January 9, 1994. This launches an extensive tour of 50 works charting the Dutch-born American artist's development from 1939-1985. The exhibit will also be seen in Barcelona, Atlanta, Boston, and Houston.
October 22, 1923
Upon completion of several new enclosures near the Connecticut Avenue entrance of the National Zoological Park, the transfer of deer, wild goats, sheep and cattle to their new homes is completed without any problems.
October 23, 1826
James Smithson makes his will while residing in Bentinck Street, Cavendish Square, London. The conditions for the bequest to the United States are: "In the case of the death of my said Nephew [Henry James Hungerford] without leaving a child or children, or the death of the child or children he may have had under the age of twenty-one years or intestate, I then bequeath the whole of my property, . . . to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase & diffusion of knowledge among men."
October 24, 1968
The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars is established by the United States Congress (P.L. 90-637), and is placed at the Smithsonian Institution under a Board of Trustees appointed by former President Lyndon Johnson and President Richard Nixon. In 1970, it will be installed in the newly created floors occupying the former upper main hall of the Smithsonian Institution Building.
October 25, 1983
The Naming of America opens at the National Museum of American History. The exhibition displays the world map of Martin Waldseemuller, thought to be the first map on which the name "America" was used.
October 26, 1993
The National Air and Space Museum opens an exhibition featuring the world's first operational jet bomber, the German Arado Ar 234B Blitz. The exhibition is the second in the Museum's Air Power in World War II series.
October 27, 1976
The Arts and Industries Building receives an Historic Preservation Award from the Washington Metropolitan Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The ceremony was held in the National Gallery of Art Cafe. A plaque, which was affixed to the building exterior, and four certificates of achievement of excellence in historic preservation, are awarded.
October 28, 1992
The National Museum of American History opens Personal Legacy: The Healing of a Nation, an exhibition commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.
October 29, 1982
Charles Willson Peale and his World, reflecting the multifaceted talents of Peale as artist, scientist, and inventor, opens at the National Portrait Gallery.
October 30, 1980
The U.S. Court of Appeals rules that two exhibition areas in the National Museum of Natural History that focus on the scientific theory of evolution do not violate the First Amendment requirement of separation of church and state. The decision, which affirmed the decision of a lower court in Washington, D.C., also reports that the Smithsonian did not support or endorse any one religion by presenting exhibits with material on the evolutionary process. The suit was brought against the Smithsonian by Dale Crowley, Jr., a fundamentalist minister and executive director of the National Foundation for Fairness in Education in 1978, alleging that the use of federal funds in Museum exhibits, specifically the Dynamics of Evolution in 1979 and Ice Age Mammals and the Emergence of Man in 1974 was a violation of the separation of church and state.
October 31, 1892
The Smithsonian participates in the Columbian Historical Exposition in Madrid, Spain, from 31 October 1892 to 31 January 1893. The Smithsonian prepared an extensive history and ethnology display from the U.S. National Museum. Assistant Secretary in charge of the United States National Museum, George Brown Goode, serves on the U.S. Commission for the exposition.