Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Today in History: August 10 The Smithsonian Institution

National Museum of American History

Outside the American History Museum

Stairs plus Kids

While in Washington D.C. last fall, we had the wonderful opportunity to spend a couple days going through a few of the Smithsonian museums.  I have to admit, before our trip I didn't realize there were 19 museums and galleries along with 9 research centers.  We were able to visit the Natural History Museum, the National Air & Space Museum near Dulles Airport, and the American History Museum.  I felt like we didn't even make a dent.  It was a challenge to just grasp a glimpse of the many treasures filling these amazing museums.  It's hard to believe the Smithsonian houses over 137 million objects!  Wow!

The Kevlar Bullet Proof Vest...Invented by a woman!


R2D2 Mailbox

When we decided to visit the Smithsonian our goal was to better understand the American history we spent the previous year studying and to see artifacts up close.   

With all the great history surrounding us, we failed to learn the history of the Smithsonian? How did such an amazing collection of treasures come to the United States. The Smithsonian has quite an interesting history.

James Smithson, a British scientist, who had never been to the United States left a unique provision in his will when he died in 1829. His will stipulated his estate would be donated to the United States of America if his nephew died without an heir.  In the event there was no heir, Smithson wanted the estate to be given "to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men." His nephew died without and heir in 1935 and the estate, valued at over $500,000, was granted to the U.S. government.

On August 10, 1846 President James Polk, with approval from Congress, signed an act into law creating The Smithsonian Institution.

We're thankful for the generosity of one man, Mr. James Smithson!  Thank You!

Practicing his speech.

Dum Dum want Gum Gum

Night at the Museum

So many priceless gems!

Julia, of Course!

Julia Child's Kitchen

After watching Julie & Julia, I couldn't resist!


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