Shortly after the Smithsonian Castle was completed in 1855, thousands of specimens–mostly from government expeditions–crowded the building. The Smithsonian’s second building–now known as the Arts and Industries Building–opened in 1881. Officials quickly determined that the rapidly growing collections, now nearing a million specimens, needed even more space.
Two decades later, President Theodore Roosevelt authorized the construction of a third Smithsonian building. Opening to the public on March 17, 1910, the new U.S. National Museum, which later became the National Museum of Natural History, contained exhibitions on art, culture, history, and the natural world–as well as space for collections research and storage.
[ TOP ]