Aug
10

Today in Smithsonian History: August 10, 1846

An Act to Establish the Smithsonian Institution, signed into law by President James K. Polk on August 10, 1846, created the Institution specified in James Smithson's bequest.

An Act to Establish the Smithsonian Institution, signed into law by President James K. Polk on August 10, 1846, created the Institution specified in James Smithson’s bequest.

August 10, 1846 By a vote of 26 to 13, the U.S. Senate passes the act organizing the Smithsonian Institution which is signed into law by President James K. Polk. Among its provisions, the Organic Act specifies: a Board of Regents, Chancellor, and Secretary; a “suitable” building with rooms for the “reception and arrangement” of objects of natural history, a chemical laboratory, a library, a gallery of art, and lecture rooms; the transfer to the Institution of all objects of art, natural history, etc., belonging to the United States in Washington; and the deposit in the Smithsonian of one copy of all publications copyrighted under the acts of Congress. The act stipulates that the original legacy of $515,169, plus interest accrued at the rate of 6% on loan to the U.S. Treasury, amounting to $242,129, shall be maintained as a trust fund, and all expenditures and appropriations must come from interest accrued in this fund.

Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution Archives


Posted: 10 August 2018
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