Smithsonian Institution

Smithsonian Institution, research and education center, mainly at Washington, D.C.; founded 1846 under the terms of the will of James Smithson of London, who in 1829 bequeathed his fortune to the United States to create an establishment for the "increase and diffusion of knowledge among men." The institution began as a museum and today "the nation's attic" is the largest museum complex in the world, with 19 museums, nine research centers, and the national zoo. The vast complex includes the Anacostia Community Museum; the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery; the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage; the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum (New York City); the Freer Gallery of Art; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; the National Air and Space Museum (both on the National Mall and at Dulles International Airport); the National Museum of African Art; the National Museum of American History; the National Museum of Natural History; the National Museum of the American Indian (including the George Gustav Heye Center, New York City); the National Portrait Gallery; the National Postal Museum; the National Zoological Park; the Smithsonian American Art Museum (including the separately housed Renwick Gallery); the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (Cambridge, Mass., where it forms part of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics); the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland); the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (based in Panama); and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is an independent bureau within the institution, and the National Gallery of Art is an affiliate of the Smithsonian.

See The Official Guide to the Smithsonian (2002).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The First Hundred Years of the Smithsonian Institution, 1846-1946
Webster P. True.
Smithsonian Institution, 1946
FREE! The Smithsonian Institution, 1846-1896: The History of Its First Half Century
George Brown Goode; Smithsonian Institution.
Smithsonian Institution, 1897
Sons of Science: The Story of the Smithsonian Institution and Its Leaders
Paul H. Oehser.
H. Schuman, 1949
FREE! A Memorial of Joseph Henry
Smithsonian Institution.
Government Printing Office, 1880
Hints on Public Architecture: Containing, among Other Illustrations, Views and Plans of the Smithsonian Institution : Together with An Appendix Relative to Building Materials
Robert Dale Owen.
DaCapo Press, 1978
The Smithsonian Abolition Lecture Controversy: The Clash of Antislavery Politics with American Science in Wartime Washington
Conlin, Michael F.
Civil War History, Vol. 46, No. 4, December 2000
The Smithsonian and the Enola Gay
Washburn, Wilcomb E.
The National Interest, No. 40, Summer 1995
The Rise and Fall of the Bureau of American Ethnology
Woodbury, Richard B.; Woodbury, Nathalie F. S.
Journal of the Southwest, Vol. 41, No. 3, Autumn 1999
Political Correctness Comes out of the Attic at the Smithsonian
Goode, Stephen.
Insight on the News, Vol. 11, No. 1, January 2, 1995
The History of Science in the United States: An Encyclopedia
Marc Rothenberg.
Garland, 2001
Librarian’s tip: "Smithsonian Institution" begins on p. 521
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