1996 32¢ Smithsonian Institution
Issue Date: February 7, 1996
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Though he had never traveled to the United States, English chemist and mineralogist James Smithson left our country the sum of $515,169 to create “an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men” in 1829. Smithson’s will provided that this “Smithsonian Institution” should be located in Washington D.C. By an act of Congress, this national treasure was born on August 10, 1846.
The Smithsonian Institution is a nonprofit organization administered by a board of regents consisting of the vice president, the chief justice of the United States, three members each from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, and nine citizen members appointed by a joint resolution of Congress.
The Smithsonian operates numerous museums – many of which display works of art, and others which feature exhibits on American history, natural history, aeronautics and space exploration, as well as science and technology. Other facilities operated by the Smithsonian include a zoo, and centers for research, cultural exchange, and the performing arts. The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum, housed on the first floor of Washington’s City Post Office on Capitol Hill, contains the world’s largest stamp collection.