Smithsonian Institution

Alternative names
Dates:
Establishment 1846
Americans
English

History notes:

The Smithsonian Institution was established on August 10, 1846, is a group of museums and research centers administered by the United States government. The institution is named after its founding donor, British scientist James Smithson. Originally organized as the United States National Museum.

James Smithson (1765-1829), a British scientist, left his estate to the United States to found “at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” The Smithsonian Institution was officially established by legislation signed by President James K. Polk on August 10, 1846, as a trust to be administered by a Board of Regents and a Secretary of the Smithsonian. Since its founding, the Smithsonian has become the world’s largest museum and research complex, with 19 museums, the National Zoo and nine research facilities. The Secretary of the Smithsonian, appointed by the Board of Regents, is the Institution's chief executive officer.

Secretaries have included Joseph Henry, 1846-1878; Spencer F. Baird, 1878-1887; Samuel P. Langley, 1887-1906; Charles D. Walcott, 1907-1927; Charles G. Abbot, 1928-1944; Alexander Wetmore, 1944-1952; Leonard Carmichael, 1953-1964; S. Dillon Ripley, 1964-1984; Robert McCormick Adams, 1984-1994; Ira Michael Heyman, 1994-2000; Lawrence M. Small, 2000-2007; Cristián Samper, Acting Secretary, 2007-2008; and G. Wayne Clough, 2008 - .

Smithsonian Institution Archives Field Book Project: CorporateBody : Description : rid_9_oid_EACO9

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Information

Permalink:
http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6rc7tp0
Ark ID:
w6rc7tp0
SNAC ID:
83652790

Subjects:

  • National Museum
  • Art museums
  • Science museums--Educational aspects
  • Science In America
  • Wilkes Expedition
  • Natural history
  • Aeronautics
  • Science museums
  • Education
  • Coasts--Surveys

Occupations:

not available for this record

Functions:

  • Research
  • Museums
  • Education
  • Publishers

Places:

  • Isthmus of Panama, 00, PA
  • District of Columbia, DC, US