A Bill to establish the Smithsonian Institution for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men

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  • This is a bill, introduced by Mr. Owen, for the establishment of the Smithsonian Institution. It establishes a board of managers and states how they are to be appointed. The initial duties of the board are to find a location for the Smithsonian Institution and to plan for the erection of the building. The building shall contain a library, space for the display of objects of natural history, a geological and mineralogical cabinet, a chemistry lab and lecture rooms. It instructs the board to have all objects of natural history, plants and geological and mineralogical specimens, and objects of art and of foreign and curious research belonging to the United States delivered to the Institution.
  • The board is also instructed to appoint a superintendent to care for the building and grounds, to be secretary of the board of managers and to perform the duties of librarian and keeper of the museum. The board is to appoint a separate professor of agriculture. This bill also includes the provision for a professor of common school instruction who will have the ability to grant certificates of qualification to common school teachers.


  • Smithson, James 1765-1829
  • Owen, Robert Dale 1801-1877
  • United States Congress
  • Board of Regents
  • National Institute


Smithsonian Legal Documents

Legal document information

  • H.R. 5
  • Title 20, Education
  • Bill


for other bills relating to the act establishing the Smithsonian Institution see S. 18, S. 259, S. 293, S. 292, S. 245, H.R. 863, H.R. 386, H.R. 418, H.R. 1, H.R. 1160, H.R. 1161

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Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu




  • Smithson Bequest
  • Architecture
  • Board of Managers
  • Act to establish the "Smithsonian Institution," for the Increase and Diffusion of Knowledge Among Men
  • SI, Early History
  • Libraries
  • Museums
  • Management
  • National Collections
  • Schools
  • Buildings
  • Management--Museums


Mall, The (Washington, D.C.)



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Number of pages: 13; Page Numbers: 1-13

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