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date: 27 January 2021

Secretaries of the Smithsonianlocked


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....

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