Flag of the Smithsonian Institution
|Established||August 10, 1846|
The Smithsonian Institution (
Termed "the nation's attic"
 for its eclectic holdings of 154 million items,
 the Institution's nineteen museums, nine research centers, and zoo include historical and architectural landmarks, mostly located in the
The Institution's thirty million annual visitors
 are admitted without charge. Its annual budget is around $1.2 billion with 2/3 coming from annual federal appropriations.
 Other funding comes from the Institution's endowment, private and corporate contributions, membership dues, and earned retail, concession, and licensing revenue.
 Institution publications include
The British scientist
Once the money was in hand, eight years of Congressional haggling ensued over how to interpret Smithson's rather vague mandate "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge."
 Unfortunately, the money was invested by the US Treasury in bonds issued by the state of Arkansas which soon defaulted. After heated debate, Massachusetts Representative (and ex-President)