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

Tomb of James Smithson in Italy

June 27, 1829

James Smithson, the Smithsonian's founding donor, dies in Genoa, Italy. He is buried in the Protestant cemetery, about a mile west of Genoa, on a high elevation overlooking the town of Sampierdarena. His will provides for the creation of an institution for "the increase and diffusion of knowledge."More

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