Smithsonian Institution Facts

Smithsonian Institution Facts
The Smithsonian Institution is an institution made up of a group of research centers and museums that were originally founded in as an 'Establishment for the increase & diffusion of knowledge among men' according to the will of James Smithson in 1846. James Smithson was an Englishman and scientist who inherited half of his mother's estate and stipulated that if his heir Henry Hungerford had no children, that his fortune would pass on to establish the Smithsonian Institute. It was founded in the years following Henry Hungerford's death. The Smithsonian Institute today has 19 museums and galleries, nine research facilities, and the National Zoological Park, making it the largest museum and research center in the world.
Interesting Smithsonian Institution Facts:
When Henry Hungerford died the American government, who was to receive the Smithson bequest, did not even know that it existed. U.S. President Andrew Jackson had to pass the info to Congress after learning about it.
Smithson's estate was transferred from Europe to the United States accompanied by Richard Rush. The estate would have been worth roughly $11.1 million today.
The original Smithsonian Institution's building was the Castle, located near the National Mall in Washington, D.C. It is a red brick building that looks like a castle, built after a design competition in 1946. It is still the headquarters of the Smithsonian Institute.
The Smithsonian collections include 138 million objects, works of art, and specimens, the majority of which (127 million) are located at the National Museum of Natural History.
The Smithsonian Institute research facilities include the Smithsonian Tropical research Institute and the Marine Station, Smithsonian Institution Archives, Smithsonian Institution Libraries, Museum Conservation Institute, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, and the Archives of American Art.
Smithsonian facilities can be found in Washington, New York, Virginia, and Florida.
In Washington, D.C. the Smithsonian museums are open every day of the year except Christmas.
The Smithsonian galleries and museums include the African American History and Culture Museum, the African Art Museum, the Air and Space Museum, the Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center, American Art Museum, American History Museum, American Indian Museum, the Anacostia Community Museum, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Freer Gallery of Art, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Natural History Museum, Portrait Gallery, Postal Museum, Renwick Gallery, American Indian Museum Heye Center, and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.
The National Zoo contains 400 different species, totalling 2000 animals. Roughly 25% of the animals are considered endangered.
Some of the animals at the National Zoo include North Island brown kiwis, cheetahs, Sumatran tigers, western lowland gorillas, Asian elephants, and giant pandas.
Nikola Tesla is not mentioned in the Smithsonian Institute and his alternating current generator invention is contained within the Thomas Edison exhibition.
The Smithsonian Institute published a monthly magazine Smithsonian, and a bi-monthly magazine Air & Space.
Approximately 6300 people work for the Smithsonian in some capacity, and a large percentage are government employees.
The yearly operating budget for the Smithsonian is more than $800 million.
Many of the Smithsonian Institute exhibits and buildings are free admission.

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