"Invitations have been given to a number of distinguished gentlemen in different parts of the United States to favor us with courses of lectures… We shall not seek mere popular lecturers… but chiefly those who are entitled… to speak with authority on the subjects of their discourse, and whose character will tend to give due importance to their communications."
Public lectures were a regular part of early Smithsonian activities
as a result of Congress' insistence on public access to the Smithsonian.
The Smithsonian Building originally had one of Washington's largest public
lecture halls. Secretary Henry discontinued the lectures after a fire in
the Smithsonian Building in 1865 destroyed the lecture hall.
The Apparatus Room
Part exhibit gallery, part product demonstration facility, the Apparatus Room, which Secretary Henry opened in 1854, captured the interest of Smithsonian researchers and visitors alike.
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