Wright Brothers Outside Smithsonian Institution Building, by Unknown, 1910, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, The Wright Brothers outside the Smithsonian Institution Building on February 10, 1910, after receiving the Langley Medal for their contributions to aeronautics. Alexander Graham Bell, a Smithsonian regent, stands closest to the automobile. To his right is Orville Wright, then Wilbur Wright, then Smithsonian Secretary Charles Doolittle Walcott. The Wright Brothers contacted Smithsonian Secretary Samuel Pierpont Langley for advice on aeronautics early in their work on the airplane. They later donated their historic aircraft to the Smithsonian..