One hundred years ago today, the doors of a magnificent, new Beaux Arts building located at 10th Street on the National Mall swung open and parade of 4,000 visiting dignitaries, including the German, Japanese and Swiss ambassadors, entered. It was the grand opening of a new National Museum. Six years in the making, at a cost of $3.5 million, the building would become the Smithsonian's third on the Mall, with an exterior designed by the much acclaimed architectural firm owned by Daniel Burnham and Charles McKim. The Washington Post hailed it as "another milestone in the development of Washington as the intellectual and artistic Capital of the United States."
Today, the National Museum of Natural History, in celebration of its centennial, plans a series of events as well as the opening this week of its new David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins. An upcoming exhibition in May, "On Display, In the Field, In the Lab: 100 years at the National Museum of Natural History," highlights the behind-the-scenes research efforts of its staff in curating the museum's collection of 126 million specimens that includes 30 million insects, 4.5 million plants, 7 million fishes and 2 million artifacts, drawings and documents.
Tonight at 10 PM, be sure to catch the new show, "Smithsonian Spotlight: 100 Years of Natural History," on the Smithsonian Channel, check local listings.
Happy 100th Birthday Natural History!