Groundbreaking for the Natural History Building, by Unknown, June 15, 1904, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, Groundbreaking of the new United States National Museum Building, now the National Museum of Natural History, took place on June 15, 1904. As a crowd of observers looks on, a woman using a spade lifts the first piece of dirt. SI employees, Secretary Langley, and architects Joseph Coerten Hornblower and James Rush Marshall all attended the ceremony..