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Opinion of Attorney General on National Museum, 1857, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, SIA2011-1001.

June 2, 1858

The US Congress appropriates $4,000 for preservation of the collections of government exploring and surveying expeditions, and an additional $1,000 for the transfer of the collections to the Smithsonian's US National Museum. Under this arrangement, the Smithsonian will become curator of the national collections, and Congress will continue an annual appropriation for the care and exhibition of the collections. Attorney General J. S. Black rules that, based on the Smithsonian enabling act, 9 Stat. 102, objects of natural history belonging to the government are to be placed in the care of the Smithsonian.  Transfer of the collections is completed in June of 1858.More

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