James Smithson

Smithsonian Institution Anniversary: A Great Cultural Icon For America!

Today marks the 169th birthday of the founding of the Smithsonian Institution, created with a grant by an Englishman, James Smithson, whose body is interred in a tomb in the original building of the institution, the Smithsonian Castle, which was dedicated by Congressman and former President John Quincy Adams in 1846, after legislation was signed into law by President James K. Polk.

Smithson was a chemist and mineralogist, who became the donor of the founding of an institution named in his honor, although Smithson never visited the United States, but he made it clear in his will of his great admiration for the United States, and desire to give a bequest for the promotion of learning and knowledge.

The institution named in Smithson”s honor has become the largest museum-educational complex in the world including 19 museums, 9 research centers, and a zoo, including among them the following:

National Air and Space Museum
National Museum of American History
National Museum of Natural History
National Portrait Gallery
National Museum of the American Indian
Smithsonian American Art Museum
National Museum of African American History and Culture
National Zoo

This pursuit of knowledge in the arts, sciences, culture, and history is a national treasure, and a “must see” for tourists in Washington, DC!

166th Anniversary Of Smithsonian Institution!

James Smithson, an Englishman, became the benefactor of a grant to start the institution named in his honor on this day in 1846.

Promoting the development and diffusion of knowledge of all kinds, Smithson, whose body is buried in the Smithsonian Castle in Washington, DC, could never have imagined how great the Smithsonian Institution has become, as it is now a complex of 19 museums and galleries plus the National Zoo, locations that provide enlightenment, enjoyment, and learning to millions of tourists in Washington DC and elsewhere at no cost to the public, other than taxpayer support.

The author, having just this summer visited four of the museums under its aegis–The Museum of American History, The Museum of Natural History, The Museum of Air and Space, and the Museum of the American Indian—was overwhelmed by the experience, and in 2015, there will be a Museum of African American History and Culture, and two years ago, the National Museum of American Jewish History opened in Philadelphia.

Any visitor to Washington DC or Philadelphia needs to make sure that he or she visits the various museums, as it is a memorable experience!