on U.S. Postage Stamps

Smithsonian Institution

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15-cent Smithsonian Institution stamp

One of the world’s finest and most respected museums, the Smithsonian Institution was established in 1846 with a bequest from James Smithson, an English gentleman and scientist who had never visited the United States.

From its original center, the Castle, the Smithsonian Institution has expanded to include twenty museums, nine research centers, and the National Zoo.

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3-cent Smithsonian Institution Centennial stamp
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32-cent Smithsonian Institution stamp

Smithsonian Collections

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29-cent California Gold Rush Miner's Letter stamp

The storage pods at the Smithsonian Institution Support Center play a spine-tingling role in THE LOST SYMBOL. As Brown notes, the bulk of the Smithsonian’s collections are stored off-site in state-of-the-art facilities.

The National Museum of Natural History owns the Smithsonian’s largest collection, with 126 million natural science specimens and cultural artifacts. The National Postal Museum owns the Smithsonian’s second largest collection, approximately 6 million philatelic objects, including stamps, mail, and postal operations artifacts.