Daguerre Monument.

Daguerre Monument - Snap a Picture!

Field review by the editors.

Washington, DC

"Photography, the electric telegraph, and the steam engine are the three great discoveries of the age," reads the inscription on this 1890 monument, which originally stood in the rotunda of the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building. It was paid for by the Photographers Association of America, and its purpose was to honor Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre on the 50th anniversary of his invention of the Daguerrotype, the earliest form of photography.

It looks like it was designed to be photographed. A big head of Daguerre rests beneath a miniature earth on a curved pedestal, while a winsome human-size "Fame" drapes both the head and the globe with a lei-like garland. The monument's bronze parts -- Fame, the head, the garland -- have all turned green with age, adding to its otherworldly charm. The whole thing stands 11 feet tall.

In the early 1960s Eastman Kodak tried to move the monument to its museum in Rochester, New York. The Smithsonian said no, and it currently stands in the grass outside National Portrait Gallery, where it practically begs to have its picture taken.

Daguerre Monument - Snap a Picture!

Address:
7th St. NW, Washington, DC
Directions:
Downtown, in the museum district, near the southeast corner of the National Portrait Gallery. On the west side of 7th St. NW just north of its intersection with F St. NW.
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April 20, 2019

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