Graphical timeline from Smithson to Smithsonian
From Smithson to Smithsonian - The Birth of an InstitutionSmithson's Legacy

Who Was James Smithson?
Sccepting Smithson's Gift
All-American Compromise
The Smithsonian Building
An Institution Emerges
A National Collection
Smithson's Legacy
The Smithsonian's 150th

On the occasion of the 150th-anniversary of the Smithsonian Institution, museums and offices around the Institution cooperated in a year-long celebration. This online presentation is based on the 150th-anniversary exhibition which appeared in the Smithsonian Institution Libraries' Gallery from June 1996 through January 1997.

Hoisting the Bell, August 10, 1996
On August 10, 1996, the Smithsonian Institution held a gala birthday party on the National Mall to celebrate the 150th-anniversary of the legislation establishing the Institution in 1846. A bell cast for the occasion was hoisted into tower of the Smithsonian Building (Castle) in the opening ceremonies, and the day concluded with a colorful fireworks display on the Castle grounds.

Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife

Thank you for viewing the Smithsonian Institution Libraries' online exhibition, From Smithson to Smithsonian: The Birth of an Institution. We hope you enjoyed it.

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