Notable People & Places / 23.03.2012

Some of you may not be aware of this, but an Englishman, who had never set foot in America, provided the financial backing for the nation’s greatest museum: The Smithsonian Institution. James Smithson was a wealthy man from across the Atlantic and on June 27th, 1829, he died while visiting Genoa, Italy. He was a man of science, being a mineralogist and chemist, and a great admirer of the young country in North America. Thus, began the auspicious and completely unplanned birth of the Smithsonian Institution. Below are excerpts from his living will, disposing of his estate.