It all started with rocks, in a strange way it did, Smithson’s own Mineral collection.  The Smithsonian Act was signed into law by President James K. Polk on this day August 10, 1846 and the Smithsonian Institution was born.  James Smithson died in Italy in the year 1829 and left a request that if his only nephew, Henry James Hungerford died without any heirs, the whole of his estate would go to the United States of America for creating an “Establishment for the increase & diffusion of Knowledge among men”.   The amount of money that was left was $500,000 U.S. Dollars.  The Smithsonian Institution grew quickly as it amassed thousands of specimens, artifacts and collectables and become so huge, I can’t even begin to cover its history.   So I will leave you this link to explore yourself, enjoy.