Spencer Fullerton BairdDied 19 Aug 1887 at age 64 (born 3 Feb 1823). American naturalist and vertebrate zoologist who in his time was the leading authority on North American birds and mammals. A pioneer in museum collecting and display, he was named the Smithsonian Institution's second Secretary upon the death of the first Secretary, Joseph Henry. Whereas Henry had envisioned the Smithsonian primarily as a research institute, Baird saw Smithson's gift as the means to develop a national museum. By 1878, Congress had formally given responsibility for the U.S. National Museum to the Smithsonian Institution. During the Baird years, the Smithsonian became a showcase for the nation's history, resources, and treasures. By the end of his tenure, the National Museum housed more than 2.5 million specimens and artifacts.