The Vibe — August 10, 2022
Guy never visits the U.S. and funds its biggest museum
Today, but Not Today
James Smithson was an English scientist who never visited the United States. However, when he died in 1829, he left his money (roughly $500,000) to the United States government. The money first spent a few years with his nephew, but when the nephew didn’t produce any children either, then the funds went to the government.
The original mission was to build “at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Today, you can see things like Prince’s guitar, the Hope Diamond, and even the kitchen of our very own Julia Childs spread throughout the 21 museums that make up today’s Smithsonian Institution.
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