Today in History: August 10 — Smithsonian Institution was created



Smithsonian National Museum for African American History and Culture 

On this day in 1846, U.S. President James K. Polk signed into law an act establishing the Smithsonian Institution.

In his will, an English chemist and mineralogist, James Smithson, stated that if his only newphew died without a heir, that his estate should be given to the United States to establish the Smithsonian Institution — “for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.”

Today, the Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex — with 19 museums and the National Zoo.


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