Richard Rathbun at His Desk, by Unknown, c. 1880, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, Richard Rathbun, Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in charge of the United States National Museum, sits at a table writing. Rathbun supervised the organization of the newly chartered National Gallery of Art, now the National Museum of American Art, in the Arts and Industries Building in 1906. In 1880, Richard Rathbun became curator of the Department of Marine Invertebrates at the United States National Museum and was named Assistant Secretary in 1896. He became Director of the United States National Museum in 1898..