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"I went to the museum where they had all the heads and arms from the statues that are in all the other museums." ~ Steven Wright

Guide to the Smithsonian If the arms of the Venus Di Milo existed, they'd probably be on display in Washington D.C...

On this day in 1846, The Smithsonian Institution was charted by the U.S. Congress and made possible by a $500,000 endowment by English scientist Joseph Smithson "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge."

This great act of generosity was made by a man who had never set foot on American soil.

The original museum, built in 1849, is the current information center for the world's largest exhibit complex that includes 16 museums and galleries and holds some 140 million artifacts and specimens in its trust.

The most popular, the National Air and Space Museum, houses man-made flying machine, from the Wright Brothers to the Space Shuttle.

"The one thing the Smithsonian conveys is the stewardship of America's treasures," explained Lawrence M. Small, secretary of the Institution. "That's not something we're going to commercialize."

Admission is free to this massive complex of learning, a world of discovering, imagining, and remembering. A visit of opportunity that offers extraordinary displays to commemorate life, reaching back in time and propelling forward into space.

Motivational speaker Mark Victor Hansen once said "In imagination, there's no limitation." At the Smithsonian, the only limits are your imagination.

Just imagine...