Buffalo Behind Smithsonian Institution Building, by Unknown, c. 1886-1889, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, Two buffalo are in a paddock in the South Yard behind the Smithsonian Institution Building. They were acquired in 1886 by the United States National Museum's Department of Living Animals, which eventually became the National Zoological Park. This photograph, taken sometime between 1886 and 1889, predates the founding of the NZP which was established by Act of Congress in 1889..