General Smithsonian

General Smithsonian

History of the Smithsonian

In 1826, British scientist James Smithson drew up his last will and testament, naming his nephew as beneficiary.

Board of Regents Committee Assignments


David M. Rubenstein+, Chair
Steve Case, Vice Chair
Risa J. Lavizzo-Mourey


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The Smithsonian Board of Regents

The legislation that created the Smithsonian Institution (approved by Congress Aug. 10, 1846) called for the creation of a Board of Regents to govern and administer the organization. This 17-member board, which meets four times a year, includes the Chief Justice of the United States and the Vice President of the United States as ex officio members of the Board.

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James Smithson Biographical Information

James Smithson (c. 1765–June 27, 1829), scientist and philanthropist, was born James Louis Macie in Paris, where his mother gave birth to him in secret. His father, Hugh Smithson, was the first Duke of Northumberland and one of the great patrons of the 18th century.

Buildings in the South Mall Master Plan

Smithsonian Institution Building

Smithsonian Campaign—By the Numbers

The Smithsonian Campaign will raise $1.5 billion to invest in people, places, programs and collections:


Examples of Projects Supported by the Smithsonian Campaign

Private support raised by the Smithsonian Campaign is fueling the transformation of the Smithsonian into a 21st-century institution. The campaign has already raised more than $1 billion through gifts from thousands of donors across the nation. These are stories of a few individual campaign gifts and their impact:

Hoja de datos de la Institución Smithsonian

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La Institución Smithsonian es el complejo de museos y de investigación más grande del mundo. Cuenta con 19 museos y galerías, además del Parque Zoológico Nacional (consulte la lista a continuación).