Opened in 1911, the National Museum of Natural History was located on the opposite side of the National Mall from the Arts and Industries Building (AIB). It was the first Smithsonian Institution museum that began as a collection within the AIB before moving to a new building.

Below is a present-day view of the Mall, showing eight subsequent Smithsonian Museums, plus the National Gallery of Art.

Aerial View of the Mall from the Capitol to 14th Street

It would not be the last. The AIB has served as an “incubator” for several other Smithsonian Institution museums:

National Museum of American History – transferred from the AIB in 1964

Smithsonian American Art Museum – transferred from the AIB in 1968

National Air and Space Museum  – transferred from the AIB in 1976