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Smithsonian Donor Never Visited America


Interesting Facts in Easy English

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

  • complex: a series of buildings
  • funding: money to help pay for something
  • illegitimate: born from unmarried parents
  • fortune: a large amount of money 
  • remains: ashes or corpse of a dead person
  • crypt: a burial tomb or vault

Smithsonian Donor Never Visited The US

Have you heard of the Smithsonian Institution? This is the world’s largest complex of museums and galleries. It includes 19 museums, galleries, and research institutes, as well as the Zoo. Most of the Smithsonian museums and galleries are located in Washington D.C., though there are also a few in New York City and Virginia. All Smithsonian facilities are free for visitors, and of people view the collections each year. The original funding for the Smithsonian Institute was provided by James Smithson, a European researcher. Smithson was born in Paris in 1765. He was the illegitimate child of the 1st Duke of Northumberland, and he wanted to himself. He left his fortune of over $500, 000 to his nephew, but stated that if his nephew died, the money should go to the United States. He wanted the money to be used for an  facility called the Smithsonian . Smithson’s remains now reside in a crypt in the Smithsonian Institution Castle on the National Mall. James Smithson never visited the US.

Comprehension Questions

  1. Where are most of the Smithsonian facilities located?
  2. Who is Smithson?
  3. What interesting fact is mentioned at the end of the report?

Discussion Questions: Why do you think a European researcher would donate his fortune to a knowledge facility in the US if he had no ties to America?

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