Smithsonian Institution, as explained on their website, is a simple one: "The increase and diffusion of knowledge."
Founded in 1846 using funds donated by British scientist James Smithson, "the Smithsonian has become the world's largest museum, education, and research complex, with 19 museums, the National zoo, and nine research facilities."
I'm hoping to go to one or more of the museums tomorrow but it will be hard to decide which ones. A visit to the website is a great place to see samples of the collections and learn about the options, some of which include:
- National Museum of African American History and Culture - learn about the diversity of the African American experience and how it helped shaped the nation
- National Air and Space Museum - this is where you'll find aircraft, spacecraft and a planetarium
- National Museum of American History - Washington's uniform and Dorothy's ruby slippers are just two of the 3 million objects in this museum
- National Museum of the American Indian - this building was designed in collaboration with Native American tribes and includes objects, photographs and media from the entire Western Hemisphere
- National Museum of Natural History - the largest natural history museum in the world, it's larger than 18 football fields (hmm, maybe one museum will be all I have time for)
Inspired by what the Smithsonian is doing? Get involved by becoming one of the 13,000 volunteers. There are opportunities to become a docent, citizen scientist or help with transcribing historical documents. Learn about them all in this short video.
If you don't have time to volunteer, you can still support the Smithsonian by making a donation, liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @smithsonian.