washington wednesday: the smithsonian institution

At the start of this trip, I was vaguely aware that some of the museums along the mall were somehow connected to “The Smithsonian.” It was an entity I knew mainly from the TV show Bones, where the main characters all work doing research, but I had little idea of its true place in our past and present. So, I was excited to learn all about the founding of this institution on an early morning tour of the “Smithsonian Castle.”

James Smithson is the English born founder of this organization of scientific research centers and museums. He left his massive wealth to the United States in his will, and people are still speculating as to why. He had never even been to the U.S. and we only got the money because the prior heir he had chosen passed away before he did. Our [young] congress apparently argued about whether or not to accept the money for a few years before they decided on how to distribute it and fulfill Smithson’s wishes. He wanted the institution created “for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Today, one of my favorite things about visiting the Smithsonian Museums is that they are free and accessible to everyone. What better way to ensure that knowledge is spread?

Here are some photos from my Day 2 visit to the Smithsonian Castle. This day was packed though, so we will be on Day 2 for a few posts. :)

  • Fuji X100S
  • VSCO Film: Fuji FP 100C Cool–

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smithsonian institute-8James Smithson is buried here. Another fun fact: You can’t believe everything you read – even when it’s written in stone. Apparently the date of his death/age listed on the inscription here is a bit inaccurate.

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smithsonian institute-14The “castle” was the original building in the Smithsonian Institute, and has endured a few fires which wiped out many old books and manuscripts. One fire that occurred during the winter, started upstairs and could not be controlled because the emergency buckets of water placed around the building were frozen.

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