The Smithsonian Institution isn’t just one museum, but a complex of 17 museums and galleries, 21 libraries, 9 research centers, and the National Zoo. The complex holds more than 150 million objects and is always free.
- The Smithsonian Institution was named for James Smithson, an English scientist who wanted his fortune to be used for an “increase and diffusion of knowledge.”
- Richard Rush, an American diplomat during Andrew Jackson’s presidency, traveled to England in 1838 to retrieve the money—105 sacks holding 104,960 gold coins worth $500,000.
- Smithson’s directions were vague and for several years, nothing happened to bring his dream to pass. It was John Quincy Adams who spearheaded the project, urging Congress to develop a plan for the funds.
- In 1846, the first building was completed. Today, more than 30 million people annually visit the Smithsonian, which is found on the National Mall and in other parts of Washington D.C.
- The Smithsonian is called the “nation’s attic.” It holds the Star Spangled Banner, numerous pieces of art, and even Julia Child’s Cambridge kitchen.
- The Smithsonian is also known for its website, educational programs, and magazine.
- Complex: a group
- Diffusion: sharing and spreading
- Spearhead: lead
Questions and Answers
Question: How long does it take to visit the Smithsonian?
Answer: It would take many hours and days to visit the Smithsonian. Most visitors start with their favorite interests, such as American history, and visit a handful of the buildings.
Visit the Smithsonian’s website to get a glimpse of the museum’s vast collection of exhibits.
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Declan, Tobin. " The Smithsonia Institution Facts for Kids ." American History for Kids, Aug 2020. Web. 05 Aug 2020. < https://www.americanhistoryforkids.com/the-smithsonia/ >.
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Tobin, Declan. (2020). The Smithsonia Institution Facts for Kids. American History for Kids. Retrieved from https://www.americanhistoryforkids.com/the-smithsonia/