James Smithson: Who Was the Guy Who Gave Us the Smithsonian Institution?

A view of the Smithsonian Institution building in a field of daisies in Washington DC, circa 1860s. Source: (Photo by Kean Collection/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

The Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. is known as “America’s attic.” Here, many of the most important artifacts and memorabilia for the country’s history are housed and displayed for the public to enjoy. Since 1846, the massive museum has been one of the most revered places in the United States. But, what do you know about the man for whom the Smithsonian is named? Let’s learn about James Smithson and how “America’s attic” came to bear his name.