The Legacy of James Smithson

23511 August, 0:30 / Source:
James Smithson, a member of the London Scientific Society, specialized in mineralogy, geology and chemistry. He died in Italy in 1829 and bequeathed all his property to the people of the United States of America, a country in which he had never been.

The scientist wished that the Smithsonian Institute, a national university, a public library or an observatory for "increasing and spreading knowledge" should be founded on his funds in Washington.

In 1836, the inheritance was taken by the United States and amounted, literally, to 11 boxes containing 104,960 gold sovereigns, 8 shillings and 7 pence, a collection of minerals, a library and a scientific archive.
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After melting gold, its value was $ 500,000. On August 10, 1846, the US government founded the Smithsonian Institution, which now includes 19 museums, galleries (including the National Museum of Natural History, the Zoological Park, the Portrait Gallery, the Museum of Aviation and Cosmonautics) and libraries around the world.

Now this is the largest museum complex in the world. He has close ties with other 168 museums in 39 states, Panama and Puerto Rico, where the Smithsonian Institution transferred the exhibits on a long-term lease.

Every year, the Smithsonian Institution conducts a variety of traveling exhibitions. All its museums are visited annually by more than thirty million people. They are free of charge and are financed from both a special fund and the US government.

In 1901, in the central building of the Smithsonian Institute, which today is the information center for all who visit the museum, the remains of Smithson himself, brought from England, were buried.
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