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The Smithsonian Institution is the world?s largest museum and research complex comprised of 19 museums and 9 research centers with subjects and fields that varies from the Art to the postal service, sculpture to space exploration. Though mostly found in Washington D.C., some sites are located in New York City, Virginia, Panama, and elsewhere. This educational and research institute is administered and funded by the government of the United States and by funds from its endowment, contributions, and profits from its retail operations, concessions, licensing activities and magazines.

Aside from its nine research centers, the Smithsonian also operates numerous research programs and is a steward and ambassador of cultural connections, promoting understanding of world cultures. It has over 136 million items in its collections representing the country?s rich heritage, art from across the globe, and the immense diversity of the natural and cultural world. Through the Smithsonian's Affiliation's program unparalleled collections, scholarship and exhibitions reach communities from even across the nation, while the Smithsonian?s science programs examines many of the world?s most complex and time-sensitive problems. The museum publishes two magazines named Smithsonian (monthly) and Air & Space (bimonthly). The Institution's current logo is a stylized sun.

The Smithsonian Institution was established with funds from James Smithson, a British scientist who left his estate to the United States to found ?at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment dedicated to the "increase and diffusion of knowledge," with education as its core mission, from informal education opportunities to lesson plans for teachers, and professional development. Visitors can pay homage to Smithson with a visit to his crypt, located on the first floor of the Smithsonian Castle located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The 2009 film Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian was the first commercial production to be given rights to use the Smithsonian Institution's name. The asteroid discovered in 1984 is named 3773 Smithsonian in honor of the Institution.
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