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11 boxes of Gold Coins

In 1838 James Smithson’s estate sent the United States 11 boxes of gold coins. $508,000 then, worth about $16.5 million now. Smithson’s will stated it was “to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.” He never visited America, knew no one here. Mystery surrounded the gift. England’s elite, despite Smithson’s important scientific work, shunned him because of his illegitimate birth. Or maybe he was a true son of the Enlightenment and recognized how sorely our new nation need an intellectual jump-start.

ARC asks, “Where’s our James Smithson?”

For 39 years The ARChive of Contemporary Music has been preserving popular music. Now in our fourth location, we need a permanent home – as safe and secure as, well, the Smithsonian. We’ve raised more than a million dollars, but need more help, your help, as we launch or Capital Campaign. We won’t re-bury you under the building like they did to Mr. Smithson in Washington. Honest.

Do give us a call or write. We’ll send details. Thank you, b.george, director

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