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Smithsonian Birthday: August 10, 2011
Celebrating 165 years of knowledge and discovery!

Smithsonian @ 165 – Then and Now

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On August 10, 1846 the U.S. Senate passes the act organizing the Smithsonian Institution, which is signed into law by President James K. Polk.

Congress authorized acceptance of the Smithson bequest on July 1, 1836, but it took another ten years of debate before the Smithsonian was founded! Once established, the Smithsonian became part of the process of developing an American national identity—an identity rooted in exploration, innovation, and a unique American style. That process continues today as the Smithsonian looks toward the future.

Learn more about the founding of the Smithsonian »

Did you know?

Castle Fireworks

What do you want the Smithsonian to exhibit or study in the next 165 years?

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