U.S. research institution. Enabled by the bequest of the English chemist James Smithson (1765–1829), it was established in Washington, D.C., by an 1846 act of Congress. The Smithsonian administers numerous bureaus, including the Freer Gallery of Art, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Air and Space Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the National Museum of History and Technology, the National Museum of Natural History, the National Zoological Park, and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.
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