• The Smithsonia Institution

    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.

    Flag Of The Smithsonian Institution

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    • 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.

      Smithsonian First Building

    • 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.



    1. Complex: a group
    2. Diffusion: sharing and spreading
    3. 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.


    Learn More

    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, May 2024. Web. 22 May 2024. < https://www.americanhistoryforkids.com/the-smithsonia/ >.

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Tobin, Declan. (2024). The Smithsonia Institution Facts for Kids. American History for Kids. Retrieved from https://www.americanhistoryforkids.com/the-smithsonia/

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