The Ultimate Smithsonian Institution Quiz

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

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About This Quiz

The Smithsonian Institution began with an unexpected donation and has now grown to a massive collection of American artifacts. The Smithsonian is world renowned for its museum and for scientific endeavors. Take this quiz and learn more about the famous Smithsonian Institution.

The majority of the Smithsonian collection comes from:

The Smithsonian's collection includes 137 million artifacts, the majority of which comes from the National Museum of Natural History.


Most of the Smithsonian's artifacts:

Unfortunately, the Smithsonian can showcase only about 2 percent of its artifacts at any one time. That doesn't mean those artifacts are sitting around in storage though. Researchers often request to work with the institution's vast collections.


Can you gain access to the Smithsonian artifacts that are in storage?

Sure you can. You can cruise the digital archive or request to visit the warehouse. Depending on the object you want to see and what state it's in, you might get lucky and see the artifact up close.


Where does the museum get most of its collections?

All of those artifacts come to the Smithsonian through a few main channels: purchase, donation and, of course, discovery and excavation. Not all donations make the cut either. A committee thoroughly evaluates each gift to determine whether it should be included in the Smithsonian collection.


Who founded the Smithsonian?

Although the Smithsonian is a U.S. museum, it was originally founded by a British gent named James Smithson.


The founder of the Smithsonian was:

The wealthy founder of the Smithsonian, James Smithson, was a chemist, meteorologist and geologist.


How much money did the founder of the Smithsonian contribute to the museum?

James Smithson contributed about $500,000 to the museum in 1835. This amount is equivalent to roughly $9 million today.


What did James Smithson hope to accomplish by donating his money to America?

James Smithson stated that he wanted his money to increase and diffuse knowledge. His aim is now immortalized in the Smithsonian's mission statement.


Why did James Smithson leave his fortune to America?

While we may never fully know what was going on in Smithson's head when he drew up his will, he did indicate that he wanted to help promote knowledge in the fledgling country that was the United States.


Why were the Americans wary of accepting James Smithson's donation?

Unfortunately, Smithson's gift wasn't received with open arms. Many politicians believed accepting the bequest was unconstitutional, and others thoughts accepting the donation would damage the country's dignity.


When was the first of the Smithsonian's many buildings finished?

In 1855, two decades after Smithson's bequest, the Smithsonian Institution Building went up.


Where is James Smithson buried?

In the early 1900s, Smithson's remains were moved from England to the United States. He is buried at the Smithsonian Institution.


The Smithsonian Institution Building is known as the:

If you ever visit this recognizable building, now the home of administrative offices and the Smithsonian Information Center, you'll find that it really does resemble a castle.


What was the first donation to the Smithsonian?

A chemist by the name of Robert Hare made the first donation to the Smithsonian in 1848. He donated his scientific apparatus.


Nineteen museums and galleries comprise the giant Smithsonian Institution. Which of the following museums is NOT one of them?

That was a tricky question. The National Museum of Natural History is the Smithsonian's popular history museum, not the New York-based American Museum of Natural History.


The majority of the Smithsonian's budget comes from:

Approximately 70 percent of the Smithsonian's budget, which amounts to about $700 million dollars annually, comes from the United States government.


In addition to museums, the Smithsonian is also:

A large portion of the Smithsonian's budge is allocated to research. In fact, hundreds of researchers work for the Smithsonian.


How does the Smithsonian Institution spread scientific knowledge to the general public?

Among other outreach efforts, the Smithsonian diffuses scientific knowledge by publishing papers, creating exhibits and offering classes. Students can also apply for fellowships, internships and volunteer positions.


What original and popular American artifact is housed in the Smithsonian?

The Star-Spangled Banner (the flag that inspired the U.S. national anthem of the same name) was acquired by the Smithsonian Institution in the late 19th century.


After reading about all things Smithsonian, you might be itching to visit one of its renowned museums in Washington, D.C. How much do you have to pay to gain entrance?

All that knowledge and history comes to you free of charge. You won't have to pay a cent to visit any of the Smithsonian museums in Washington.


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