Smithsonian Institution Building

Title

Smithsonian Institution Building

Description

Popularly known as "the Castle," the Smithsonian Institution's original building opened in 1855 and was the first museum on the Mall. James Renwick Jr designed the building in a Gothic Revival style with red sandstone from Seneca Creek, Maryland. The Castle housed collections, laboratories, and the family of the first Secretary. By 1881, the Smithsonian's collections and staff outgrew the Castle and expanded to a second building next door. Today, the Smithsonian Visitors' Center and founder James Smithson's crypt can be found inside the Castle.

Source

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. View original.

Date

1855 (Complete)
1865 (Damaged by fire)

Coverage

Physical Description

Medieval Revival design made of red sandstone from Montgomery County, Maryland. Smaller than a city block.

Location

1000 Jefferson Dr SW, Washington, DC 20004

Type

Description

Popularly known as "the Castle," the Smithsonian Institution's original building opened in 1855 and was the first museum on the Mall. James Renwick Jr designed the building in a Gothic Revival style with red sandstone from Seneca Creek, Maryland. The Castle housed collections, laboratories, and the family of the first Secretary. By 1881, the Smithsonian's collections and staff outgrew the Castle and expanded to a second building next door. Today, the Smithsonian Visitors' Center and founder James Smithson's crypt can be found inside the Castle.

Creator

James Renwick, Jr

Date

1855 (Complete)

Coverage

1830-1859

Source

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. View original.