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Horatio Greenough's 1841 sculpture of George Washington has lived in 4 different locations on the Mall. Originally built for the US Capitol Rotunda, Congress did not like the statue and moved it outside to the east lawn 1 year later. Still unhappy…

In 1978, the National Museum of Natural History hosted "Treasures of Mexico: From the Mexican National Museum" that featured this large stone Olmec head. The Olmecs lived in south-central Mexico from approximately 1400 BC to 400 BC and are considered…

Philip Reed was an enslaved man who worked in the foundry operated by his owner, Clark Mills. The foundry cast the statues of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square and the statue of "Freedom" which tops the Capitol dome. The plaster cast for "Freedom"…

Visitors to the Mall during the 1950s-1970s may have encountered large rockets that lined the west side of the Smithsonian Arts and Industries building. Called "Rocket Row," this outdoor exhibit accommodated large objects before the National Air and…

The South Shed, also called the Annex, was used to prepare specimen for exhibition. Built in 1898 and demolished in 1975 to make way for the Victorian Garden, the South Shed at various times housed the Smithsonian's model and taxidermy shop, the bug…

The lantern was given to the people of the United States by the Governor of Tokyo in 1954 to mark the 100th anniversary of Commodore Matthew Perry's arrival in Japan and the opening of trade between the two countries. It was installed amid the first…

In 1837, the President and Congress commissioned Italian-born artist Luigi Persico to create a sculpture depicting Christopher Columbus to be one of a pair of artworks flanking the staircase on the eastern entrance to the Capitol. When it was…

John McShain was a building contractor in charge of the construction of many federal buildings in Washington during the 1900s. On the Mall, he was responsible for building the Jefferson Memorial and was trusted with remodeling the White House during…

The Department of Agriculture's first building on the Mall was completed in 1868, but by the 1890s, the Department was outgrowing its building. In 1901, as part of the McMillan Plan to redesign the National Mall, Congress approved a new office…

This observatory was established in March 1890 and was one of the first to practice astrophysics. It was housed in buildings in the South Yard of the Smithsonian Institution Building's grounds. Early research conducted on the site focused on solar…
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