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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.


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Today in Smithsonian History

Joseph Henry Portrait, by Unknown, c. 1840s, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, SIA2011-1451 or SA-12.

December 21, 1846

Joseph Henry, physicist from Princeton University, enters upon his duties of office as the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.  He meets with the Board of Regents to plan the programs of the new Institution.More

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