Above is a picture of James Smithson, a British Scientist who passed away back in 1829. He had left most of his wealth to his nephew, Henry Hungerford. However, he passed away in 1835 without any children. According to Smithson will, the estate then passed to The United States of America. The money was to be used to found at Washington D.C. an Establishment "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men", or as it is known now.... the Smithsonian Institution.
Congress agreed to accept the legacy, and dispatched Richard Rush to England to collect the 105 sacks of 104,960 gold sovereigns which amounted to about $500,000.00 at the time!
After many years of Government haggling over interpeting Smithson's vague mandate, they invested the money into US Treasury Bonds issued by Arkansas, which very soon defaulted causing a huge loss of money! After much debate, John Quincy Adams persuaded Congress to restore the funds, with interest, and use the money as Smithson mandated. Finally on Aug 10th, 1846, President James A. Polk, ( we stay in Polk County, Florida) signed the legislation that established tthe Smithsonian Institute.
Today, we visited two of the 19 Museum that now make up the Smithsonian, first on the list was the Museum of American History.
This Museum is big and impressive from the road, and also free for admintance, as they all are. (Part of that mandate.)
The banner above in the centre, is advertising that a T-Rex is coming soon! It was there today! We got to see the boxes. The T-Rex is on loan to them, from Montana, where it was found for the next 50 years!
They also have a bunch of other old bones put together that were lying around I guess... the kids love these Dinos! Ya, lots of kids on school trips here today...
A couple Museum Scientist were working on new exhibits...
Moving on in the Museum, I found the World Population counter... it was increasing by 10 people every second! Yikes!
OK, guess what that is in the pic above... yes, the Hope Diamond of course.
Don't worry, the Guard was not far away!
The Diamond was part of a huge gem and mineral display.
What an entrance to the Museum above... we spent all morning enjoying this one.
After lunch, we carried on to Museum, #2 on the day, The Air and Space Museum.
We visited this one about 27 years ago, and I wanted to see if it had changed...lol...
This is a great Museum, full of airplanes from the very begining of time... to now. Above, these planes were all flown off an aircraft carrier.
Ya, there goes Neil Armstrong down the ladder... "One small step for man..."
The exhibits are all full detail, and authentic. You feel like you are on the ladder with him!
On the left end above, is an Apollo Capsule, and on the right side, is the USSR Capsule. This demonstrates how they linked them together in Space.
Above you are looking at the original Kitty Hawk flown by the Wright Brothers. Somehow they got it here. It only has about 2 minutes of flying time on it over 4 flights!
I wonder if I could fly this thing with my Remote Controller for my airplanes????? HHHmmmmmm.......
They have Amelia Earhart's original airplane she used to fly across the Atlantic! What a woman!
OK, so above is a model of the USS Enterprise, the first Nuclear Aircraft Carrier. It was built by a man, who spent 1,000 hours a year, for 12 years to complete it! Whew....
After we finished our work at this Museum, it was just around 2:30 and we decided it was too tough being a tourist, so we headed home on our rocket subway system.
Well, we have made it to Washington, Day 4 tomorrow... we have not decided what to do yet!