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d’Harnoncourt, René (17 May 1901–13 August 1968), museum director, was born in Vienna, Austria, the son of Hubert d’Harnoncourt, an amateur historian, and Julianna Mittrowsky. Both of his parents came from noble families with large landholdings in Austria and Czechoslovakia, and d’Harnoncourt was born with the title of count, which he later dropped. Having been tutored at home, he attended the University of Graz from 1918 to 1921, studying chemistry and pursuing his interest in art outside of school by painting, drawing, collecting prints, and mounting shows of contemporary art with a group of friends. In 1922 he went on to the Technische Hochschule in Vienna and wrote a thesis, “The Creosote Contents of Certain Coals in Southern Yugoslavia,” which was published in the German technical journal ...

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened at 681 Fifth Avenue in New York City on 13 April 1870. Ten years later it moved to its current location on Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street, where it became the largest art museum in the United States and one of the most significant museums in the world. Its American Wing alone features 1,700 works of painting, sculpture, and domestic arts....

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When the British scientist James Smithson died in 1829, he stated in his will that his estate should go to his nephew, but, if that nephew died with no heirs, it should go “to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.” When that scenario occurred, Congress authorized the bequest, and President James K. Polk signed legislation creating the Smithsonian Institution on 10 August 1846. It grew to become the world’s largest museum and research complex; today it houses nineteen museums and galleries as well as the National Zoological Park....