Favorite Museums: Smithsonian Institute

June 3, 2016

By Tab Byrum

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The Smithsonian Institute is often referred to as “America’s Attic”, the place where some of the greatest treasures of our country are kept. As you probably know the SI is located in Washington, D.C. and it is made up of a group of several museums that cover all subjects from fine art to Native Americans and Space Travel. The Smithsonian was founded in 1846 following the 1829 death of British scientist James Smithson who had left his fortune to his nephew but wanted the fortune to be used “for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Andrew Jackson was President of the time and he sent a representative to England to collect the legacy, the diplomat returned with 105 sacks containing almost 105,000 gold coins worth around $500,000.00 (today’s worth is more than $11 million dollars). The SI started out as a center for scientific research but very quickly it also became the repository for American collections from the government, this has continued to grow over the decades into the Smithsonian we know today. The Smithsonian Institute is made up today of 19 museums as well as the National Zoological Park, eleven museums are on the National Mall with others located elsewhere in D.C. and other states. If you’ve never been to the Smithsonian I hope you are able to make it someday, there are so many amazing things to see that make up who we are as Americans, objects from favorite TV shows and movies, rare gems and a look at the history of all the peoples that have inhabited our great country since before its founding up to now, until you get there here’s a peek at what you might see. Enjoy!!! (above image via)

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Perhaps the most popular museum to visit is the Air and Space Museum and with exhibits like the Space Shuttle, it’s easy to see why. (via)

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The National Museum of Natural History is amazing, it contains some 127 million specimens and artifacts. (via)

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There’s a huge collection of minerals and stones also in the Natural History museum. (via)

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This is a great map of the National Mall, letting you see what museums are on the Mall which runs from the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol Building. (via)

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Here’s an outside view of the National Museum of the American Museum, it’s one of the newest museums on the Mall. (via)

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One of my favorite museums is the National Museum of American History, it contains so many objects that we associate with American history. Here we have everybody’s favorite frog Kermit….. (via)

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….you can also see one of the pairs of ruby slippers used in 1939’s Wizard of Oz. (via)

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You can see gowns worn by our nation’s First Ladies at their Inaugural Balls. (via)

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Maybe one of the most inspiring items is the original Star-Spangled Banner, the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write our National Anthem. (via)

I honestly hope everyone has a chance to visit the Smithsonian Institute and our nation’s capitol in their lifetime, have an awesome Friday and a great weekend!!!!

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