Today in Smithsonian History: June 27, 1829

Benefactors, Memorials, Smithson, James--Death and burial, Smithson family, Tombs

Full view of the fenced plot with the monument of James Smithson in the Protestant or English cemetery on a hilltop about a mile west of Genoa, Italy. The base of the monument is of pale gray marble, 6 feet and a half long, 3 feet wide and 3 3/4 feet high. On the top of this is a white marble urn suitably proportioned to the base. In 1904 his remains were removed and brought to the Smithsonian. (Photo byPrematio Studio Fotographico Genova, Italy, 1897)

June 27, 1829 James Smithson, the Smithsonian’s founding donor, dies in Genoa, Italy. He is buried in the Protestant cemetery, about a mile west of Genoa, on a high elevation overlooking the town of Sampierdarena. His will provides for the creation of an institution in the United States for “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Today, that institution is the largest museum and research complex in the world.

View the online exhibition on the history of the Smithson Crypt here.

Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution Archives

Posted: 27 June 2017
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