Every Collection has a StoryThe Archives holds records that document the Smithsonian’s people, events, buildings, and research. The history of the Smithsonian is a vital part of the history of American experience, scientific exploration, and international cultural understanding.


Latest Blog Post
Latest Forum Topic

Get updates on our amazing collections!

Today in Smithsonian History

James Smithson Portrait by H. Johns, by Smillie, T. W (Thomas William) 1843-1917, 1816, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, 82-3206.

April 26, 1787

Under the name of James Lewis Macie, James Smithson is admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of London. His recommendation states that he is a gentleman well versed in various branches of Natural Philosophy, and particularly in Chemistry and Mineralogy. Smithson was nominated for membership by his good friend, Henry Cavendish, and four other scientists.More

Featured Exhibit