Sunday, August 10, 2014

Smithsonian Day

Today is Smithsonian Day

The Smithsonian is home to 137 million artifacts works of art, and speciments

James Smithson was an English chemist, mineralogist and an Oxford graduate. He devoted his life to science, as well he authored 27 published papers on mineralogy. Smithson did not even visit the USA, but when he died in 1829 he left his entire estate to the United States to found an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men. This establishment was to be founded in Washington D.C. and to be called the Smithsonian Institution.

His bequest was sent to the US in the form of gold sovereigns filling 11 boxes, along with his personal papers, minerals, and library. The gold was sent to the Treasury in Philadelphia for a total over $500,000.

There are 19 different museums and galleries in the Smithsonian complex. One of the most popular exhibits in the Smithsonian is the Star Spangled Banner Flag, also called the Great Garrison flag. The flag flew over  Baltimore's Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. The flag was sewn by Mary Pickergill with 15 star and stripes in 1813 for the sum of over $405. The flag has undergone several restorations, first in 1914 and the most recent in 1999.

The National Air and Space Museum is home to a lunar roving vehicle, The B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay, and Eugene Cernan's spacesuit. Cernan was the last person to walk on the moon on December 14, 1972.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting, Scott. I got to see portions of the Smithsonian back in the mid-1970's but haven't seen it since. It is so huge.