Joséphine was the first wife of Napoleon, thus the first Empress of the French. Her marriage to Napoleon was her second, her two children by Beauharnais became significant to royal lineage. Through her daughter, she was the maternal grandmother of Napoleon III. Through her son, Eugène, she was the great-grandmother of Swedish and Danish kings and queens; the reigning houses of Belgium and Luxembourg descend from her. She did not bear Napoleon any children. Joséphine was the recipient of numerous love letters written by Napoleon, her Château de Malmaison was noted for its magnificent rose garden, which she supervised owing to her passionate interest in roses, collected from all over the world. Marie Josèphe Rose Tascher de La Pagerie was born in Les Trois-Îlets, Martinique, to a wealthy French Creole family that owned a sugarcane plantation, now a museum, she was the eldest daughter of Joseph-Gaspard Tascher, Seigneur de la Pagerie, lieutenant of Troupes de Marine, his wife, the former Rose-Claire des Vergers de Sannois, whose maternal grandfather, Anthony Brown, may have been Irish.
The family struggled financially after hurricanes destroyed their estate in 1766. Edmée, Joséphine's paternal aunt, had been the mistress of François, Marquis de Beauharnais, a French aristocrat; when François's health began to fail, Edmée arranged the advantageous marriage of her niece, Catherine-Désirée, to François's son Alexandre. This marriage would be beneficial for the Tascher family, because it kept the Beauharnais money in their hands. In service to their aunt Edmée's goals, Catherine was replaced by Joséphine. In October 1779, Joséphine went to France with her father, she married Alexandre on 13 December 1779, in Noisy-le-Grand. They had two children: a son, Eugène de Beauharnais, a daughter, Hortense de Beauharnais. Joséphine and Alexandre's marriage was not a happy one. Alexandre has abandoned his family for over a year in a brief tryst and frequented whorehouses, leading to a court-ordered separation during which Josephine and the children lived at Alexandre's expense in the Pentemont Abbey, run by a group of Bernardian nuns.
On 2 March 1794, during the Reign of Terror, the Committee of Public Safety ordered the arrest of her husband. He was jailed in the Carmes prison in Paris. Considering Joséphine as too close to the counter-revolutionary financial circles, the Committee ordered her arrest on 18 April 1794. A warrant of arrest was issued against her on 2 Floréal, year II, she was imprisoned in the Carmes prison until 10 Thermidor, year II. During this time, Josephine was only allowed to communicate with her children by their scrawls on the laundry list, of which the gaolers soon prohibited, her husband was accused of having poorly defended Mainz in July 1793, being considered an aristocratic "suspect", was sentenced to death and guillotined, with his cousin Augustin, on 23 July 1794, on the Place de la Révolution in Paris. Joséphine was freed five days thanks to the fall and execution of Robespierre, which ended the Reign of Terror. On 27 July 1794, Tallien arranged the liberation of Thérèse Cabarrus, soon after that of Joséphine.
In June 1795, a new law allowed her to recover the possessions of Alexandre. Madame de Beauharnais had affairs with several leading political figures, including Paul François Jean Nicolas Barras. In 1795, she met Napoleon Bonaparte, six years her junior, became his mistress. In a letter to her in December, he wrote, "I awake full of you. Your image and the memory of last night’s intoxicating pleasures has left no rest to my senses." In January 1796, Napoleon Bonaparte proposed to her and they were married on 9 March. Until meeting Bonaparte, she was known as Rose, but Bonaparte preferred to call her Joséphine, the name she adopted from on; the marriage was not well received by Napoleon's family, who were shocked that he had married an older widow with two children. His mother and sisters were resentful of Joséphine, as they felt clumsy and unsophisticated in her presence. Two days after the wedding, Bonaparte left Paris to lead a French army into Italy. During their separation, he sent her many love letters.
In February 1797, he wrote: “You to whom nature has given spirit and beauty, you who alone can move and rule my heart, you who know all too well the absolute empire you exercise over it!” However, Josephine wrote back and when she did, her letters were dry and tepid. It is known that Josephine did not love Napoleon as much as he did, that it took her years before she warmed to his affections. After their marriage, Napoleon was said to have kept a picture of her in his pocket which he would plant many kisses on every passing hour. Josephine, never looked at the picture of her new husband that Napoleon gave her. Joséphine, left behind in Paris, in 1796 began an affair with a handsome Hussar lieutenant, Hippolyte Charles. Rumors of the affair reached Napoleon. In 1798, Napoleon led a French army to Egypt. During this campaign, Napoleon started an
Marie Antoinette was the last Queen of France before the French Revolution. She was born an Archduchess of Austria and was the penultimate child and youngest daughter of Empress Maria Theresa and Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor, she became Dauphine of France in May 1770 at age 14 upon her marriage to Louis-Auguste, heir apparent to the French throne. On 10 May 1774, her husband ascended the throne as Louis XVI and she assumed the title Queen of France and Navarre, which she held until September 1791, when she became Queen of the French as the French Revolution proceeded, a title that she held until 21 September 1792. After eight years of marriage, Marie Antoinette gave birth to Marie Thérèse, the first of her four children. A growing percentage of the population came to dislike her, accusing her of being profligate and promiscuous and of harboring sympathies for France's enemies her native Austria; the Affair of the Diamond Necklace damaged her reputation further. During the Revolution, she became known as Madame Déficit because the country's financial crisis was blamed on her lavish spending and her opposition to the social and financial reforms of Turgot and Necker.
Several events were linked to Marie Antoinette during the Revolution after the government had placed the royal family under house arrest in the Tuileries Palace in October 1789. The June 1791 attempted flight to Varennes and her role in the War of the First Coalition had disastrous effects on French popular opinion. On 10 August 1792, the attack on the Tuileries forced the royal family to take refuge at the Assembly, they were imprisoned in the Temple Prison on 13 August. On 21 September 1792, the monarchy was abolished, her trial began on 14 October 1793, two days Marie Antoinette was convicted by the Revolutionary Tribunal of high treason and executed by guillotine on the Place de la Révolution. Maria Antonia was born on 2 November 1755 at the Hofburg Palace in Austria, she was the youngest daughter of Empress Maria Theresa, ruler of the Habsburg Empire, her husband Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor. Her godparents were Joseph I and Mariana Victoria and Queen of Portugal. Maria Antonia was born on All Souls Day, a day when Catholics mourned their dead, everything was black.
Therefore, it would make sense during her childhood to celebrate her birthday on the eve of it, All Saints Day, where everything was white and gold. Shortly after her birth she was placed under the care of the governess of the imperial children, Countess von Brandeis. Maria Antonia was raised together with her sister, Maria Carolina, three years older, with whom she had a lifelong close relationship. Maria Antonia had a difficult but loving relationship with her mother, who referred to her as "the little Madame Antoine". Maria Antonia spent her formative years between the Hofburg Palace and Schönbrunn, the imperial summer residence in Vienna, where on 13 October 1762, when she was seven, she met Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, two months her junior and a child prodigy. Despite the private tutoring she received, the results of her schooling were less than satisfactory. At the age of 10 she could not write in German or in any language used at court, such as French or Italian, conversations with her were stilted.
Under the teaching of Christoph Willibald Gluck, Maria Antonia developed into a good musician. She learned to play the harpsichord and the flute, she sang during the family's evening gatherings. She excelled at dancing, had "exquisite" poise, loved dolls. Following the Seven Years' War and the Diplomatic Revolution of 1756, Empress Maria Theresa decided to end hostilities with her longtime enemy, King Louis XV of France, their common desire to destroy the ambitions of Prussia and Great Britain and to secure a definitive peace between their respective countries led them to seal their alliance with a marriage: on 7 February 1770, Louis XV formally requested the hand of Maria Antonia for his eldest surviving grandson and heir, Louis-Auguste, Duke of Berry and Dauphin of France. Maria Antonia formally renounced her rights to Habsburg domains, on 19 April she was married by proxy to the Dauphin of France at the Augustinian Church in Vienna, with her brother Archduke Ferdinand standing in for the Dauphin.
On 14 May she met her husband at the edge of the forest of Compiègne. Upon her arrival in France, she adopted the French version of her name: Marie Antoinette. A further ceremonial wedding took place on 16 May 1770 in the Palace of Versailles and, after the festivities, the day ended with the ritual bedding; the couple's longtime failure to consummate the marriage plagued the reputations of both Louis-Auguste and Marie Antoinette for the next seven years. The initial reaction to the marriage between Marie Antoinette and Louis-Auguste was mixed. On the one hand, the Dauphine was beautiful and well-liked by the common people, her first official appearance in Paris on 8 June 1773 was a resounding success. On the other hand, those opposed to the alliance with Austria had a difficult relationship with Marie Antoinette, as did others who disliked her for more personal or petty reasons. Madame du Barry proved a troublesome foe to the new dauphine, she had considerable political influence over him. In 1770 she was instrumental in ousting Étienne François, duc de Choiseul, who had helped orchestrate the Franco-Austrian alliance and Marie Antoinette's marriage, in exiling his sister, the duchesse de Gramont, one of Marie Antoinette's ladies-in-waiting.
Marie Antoinette was persuaded by
Clematis is a genus of about 300 species within the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae. Their garden hybrids have been popular among gardeners, beginning with Clematis × jackmanii, a garden standby since 1862, they are of Chinese and Japanese origin. Most species are known as clematis in English, while some are known as traveller's joy, a name invented for the sole British native, C. vitalba, by the herbalist John Gerard. The genus name is from Ancient Greek clématis. Over 250 species and cultivars are known named for their originators or particular characteristics; the genus is composed of vigorous, climbing vines / lianas. The woody stems are quite fragile until several years old. Leaves are opposite and divided into leaflets and leafstalks that twist and curl around supporting structures to anchor the plant as it climbs; some species are shrubby. The cool temperate species are deciduous, they grow best in cool, well-drained soil in full sun. Clematis species are found throughout the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in the tropics.
Clematis leaves are food for the caterpillars of some Lepidoptera species, including the willow beauty. The timing and location of flowers varies; the genus Clematis was first published by Carl Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753, the first species listed being Clematis viticella. The genus name long pre-dates Linnaeus, it was used in Classical Greek for various climbing plants, is based on κλήμα, meaning vine or tendril. Some morphologically distinctive taxa lacking the combination of characters defining Clematis were segregated as the genera Archiclematis and Naravelia. DNA sequence studies have found that these two genera are nested in Clematis, the morphological characters they were erected on being either reversals or misinterpretations, that the genera should be reduced to the synonymy of Clematis. Naravelia is a monophyletic group within Clematis. Species to be transferred include. Archiclematis alternata Clematis antonii, syn. Naravelia antonii Clematis dasyoneura, syn. Naravelia dasyoneura Clematis horripilata, syn.
Naravelia laurifolia Clematis zeylanica, syn. Naravelia zeylanica A partial list of species: Clematis addisonii Britt. – Addison's leather flower Clematis albicoma Wherry – whitehair leather flower Clematis alpina Mill. – alpine clematis Clematis aristata R. Br. Ex Ker Gawl. – Australian clematis Clematis armandii – Armand clematis Clematis baldwinii Torr. & A. Gray – pine hyacinth Clematis bigelovii Torr. – Bigelow clematis Clematis brachiata Thunb. – traveller's joy Clematis campaniflora Brot. – Portuguese clematis Clematis catesbyana – satin curls Clematis chinensis Osbeck – wei ling xian in Chinese Clematis chrysocoma Franch. – gold wool clematis Clematis cirrhosa L. – includes the'Freckles','Wisley Cream', and'Jingle Bells' cultivars Clematis cirrhosa v. balearica Clematis coactilis Keener – Virginia whitehair leather flower Clematis columbiana Torr. & A. Gray – British Columbia virgin's bower Clematis crispa L. – swamp leather flower Clematis cunninghamii Clematis dioica L. – cabellos de angel Clematis drummondii Torr.
& A. Gray – Drummond clematis Clematis durandii Clematis fawcettii F. Muell. Clematis flammula L. – fragrant virgin's bower Clematis florida Thunb. – Asian clematis Clematis fremontii S. Watson – Fremont's leather flower Clematis glaucophylla Small – whiteleaf leather flower Clematis glycinoides DC. – headache vine Clematis gouriana – Indian traveller's joy Clematis henryi Oliv. Clematis hirsutissima Pursh – hairy clematis Clematis hedysarifolia DC. Clematis integrifolia L. Clematis ispahanica Bioss Clematis × jackmanii T. Moore – Jackman's clematis Clematis koreana Kom. – Korean clematis Clematis lanuginosa Lindl. & Paxton Clematis lasiantha Nutt. – pipestem clematis Clematis leptophylla H. Eichler Clematis ligusticifolia Nutt. – western white clematis, hierba de chivo Clematis macropetala Ledeb. – downy clematis Clematis mandshurica Clematis marmoraria Sneddon – New Zealand dwarf clematis Clematis microphylla DC. – small-leaved clematis Clematis montana Buch.-Ham. Ex DC. – anemone clematis Clematis morefieldii Kral – Huntsville vasevine Clematis napaulensis DC.
Clematis occidentalis DC. – western blue virginsbower Clematis ochroleuca Ait. – curlyheads Clematis orientalis L. – Chinese clematis Clematis palmeri Rose – Palmer clematis Clematis paniculata J. F. Gmel. – puawhananga Clematis patens C. Morren & Decne. Clematis pauciflora Nutt. – ropevine clematis Clematis pickeringii A. Gray Clematis pitcheri Torr. & A. Gray – bluebill Clematis pubescens Hügel ex Endl. – common clematis Clematis recta L. – ground clematis Clematis reticulata Walter – netleaf leather flower Clematis rhodocarpa Rose Clematis smilacifolia Wall. Clematis socialis Kral – Alabama leather flower Clematis stans Siebold & Zucc. – kusabotan Clematis tangutica Korsh. – golden clematis Clematis terniflora DC. – sweet autumn clematis Clematis texensis Buckley – scarlet leather flower Clematis versicolor – manycolored leather flower Clematis verticillaris – purple
Louis-Léopold Boilly was a French painter and draftsman. A gifted creator of popular portrait paintings, he produced a vast number of genre paintings vividly documenting French middle-class social life, his life and work spanned the eras of monarchical France, the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Empire, the Bourbon Restoration and the July Monarchy. Boilly was born in the son of a local wood sculptor. A self-taught painter, Boilly began his career at a young age, producing his first works at the age of twelve or thirteen. In 1774 he began to show his work to the Austin friars of Douai who were evidently impressed: within three years, the bishop of Arras invited the young man to work and study in his bishopric. While there, he produced a cascade of paintings – some three hundred small works of portraiture, he received instruction in trompe l'oeil painting from Dominique Doncre before moving to Paris around 1787. At the height of the revolutionary Terror in 1794, Boilly was condemned by the Committee of Public Safety for the erotic undertones of his work.
This offence was remedied by an eleventh-hour discovery in his home of the more patriotic Triumph of Marat which saved him from serious penalties. Boilly was a celebrated painter of his time, he was awarded a medal by the Parisian Salon in 1804 for his work The Arrival of a Mail-coach in the Courtyard of the Messageries. In 1833 he was decorated as a chevalier of the Légion d'honneur. Boilly died in Paris on 4 January 1845, his youngest son, Alphonse Boilly, was a professional engraver who apprenticed in New York with Asher Brown Durand. Boilly's early works showed a preference for moralising subjects; the Suitor's Gift is comparable to much of his work in the 1790s. His small-scale paintings with mannered colouring and precise detailing recalled the work of seventeenth-century Dutch genre painters such as Gabriël Metsu, Willem van Mieris and Gerard ter Borch, of whose work Boilly owned an important collection. After 1794, Boilly began to produce far more crowded compositions. Boilly was well respected for his portraiture, producing many portraits of the middle classes and other famous contemporaries.
Boilly remains a regarded master of oil painting. A major exhibition of his work, The Art of Louis-Léopold Boilly: Modern Life in Napoleonic France, travelled to the United States where it was shown at both the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth and the National Gallery of Art in Washington; the Musée des Beaux Arts in Lille held its most recent large-scale exhibition of Boilly's work during the winter season of 2011–2012. The Art of Louis-Léopold Boilly: Modern Life in Napoleonic France by Susan L. Siegfried Romanticism & the school of nature: nineteenth-century drawings and paintings from the Karen B. Cohen collection by Colta Feller Ives Biography and links to many works. Careful: all kinds of pop-ups and dead links here; the Art of Louis-Léopold Boilly "Boilly, Louis Léopold". New International Encyclopedia. 1905
Maria Amalia of Naples and Sicily
Maria Amalia of Naples and Sicily was a French queen by marriage to Louis Philippe I, King of the French. Maria Amalia was born on 26 April 1782 at the Caserta Palace just outside Naples, she was the tenth of eighteen children of Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies and Maria Carolina of Austria. As a young Italian princess, she was educated in the Catholic tradition, which she appears to have taken to heart. Maria Carolina, like her mother, Maria Theresa, made an effort to be a part of her daughter's life, though she was cared for daily by her governess, Vicenza Rizzi; as a child, Maria Amalia's mother and her aunt, Marie Antoinette, arranged for her engagement to Marie Antoinette's son, Louis Joseph, Dauphin of France, the future king of France. Her young fiance died in 1789. Maria Amalia faced upheaval from a young age; the death of her aunt Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution and her mother's subsequent dramatic actions emblazoned the event in her memory. During the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789, the Neapolitan court was not hostile to the movement.
When the French monarchy was abolished and her aunt Marie Antoinette and uncle Louis XVI were executed, Maria Amelia's parents joined the First Coalition against France in 1793. Although peace was made with France in 1796, by 1798 conflict again erupted and the royal family fled to the Kingdom of Sicily, leaving Naples on 21 December 1798 aboard HMS Vanguard, a British Royal Navy vessel protected by two Neapolitan warships. Maria Amalia spent the years 1800 to 1802 with her mother in Austria. In 1802, she returned to Naples with her mother. After the invasion of Naples by Napoleon in 1806, the royal family was once more forced to flee to Sicily, where they again settled in Palermo under the protection of British troops. While in exile, Maria Amalia encountered her future husband, Louis Philippe d'Orléans forced from his home in France due to political complications of the French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon. Louis-Philippe's father, the previous Duke of Orléans, had been guillotined during the French Revolution, though he had advocated it in the early years.
The two were married in 1809, three years after they met in Italy, whereupon Marie-Amelie became Duchess of Orléans. The ceremony was celebrated in Palermo 25 November 1809; the marriage was considered controversial, because she was the niece of Marie Antoinette, while he was the son of a man, considered to have played a part in the execution of her aunt. Her mother was skeptical to the match for the same reason, but she had given her consent after he had convinced her that he was determined to compensate for the mistakes of his father, after having agreed to answer all her questions regarding his father. During the first years of her marriage, Marie-Amelie and Louis Philippe lived under British protection in Palermo, in a palace given to them by her father, the Palazzo Orléans. Marie-Amelie went to France with her new husband in 1814, where she attempted to make a home with her growing family, but with Napoleon's brief return, she was forced to flee yet again. Prior to her husband's rise to power, Marie-Amelie and her husband had to cope with a persistent money problem due to the fact that they had no income aside from that which they were given by the English crown.
The family was given permission to return to France again in 1817. During the Orléans’ time in France prior to Louis-Philippe's accession, the family lived in the Palais-Royal, the home of her father-in-law, Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans. Despite the monetary worries of the family, the house was returned to its original splendor at a cost to the couple of eleven million francs. During their tenure as Duke and Duchess of Orléans, her spouse made Palais-Royal a center of high society in Paris when the aristocracy found the royal court, organized according to revived l'ancien regime-etiquette, too stiff. However, it was rather her sister-in-law Madame Adelaide, regarded the hostess at Palais-Royal, while Marie-Amelie was described as dignified but silent and withdrawn. In 1825, the Duke and Duchess met with her sister and brother-in-law, the King and Queen of Sardinia in Chambéry, in May 1830, the hosted her brother and sister-in-law, the King and Queen of the Two Sicilies, at Palais-Royal.
In 1830, following what is known as the July Revolution, Louis-Philippe became king of France, with Maria Amalia as queen of the July Monarchy. Maria Amalia did not approve of Louis-Philippe's acceptance of the crown and described it as a catastrophe; when tumult followed the publication of the Ordinances in 1830 and erupted in the July revolution in Paris, the Orléans family was at the country estate Neuilly. Her sister in-law, Adélaïde, convinced Louis-Philippe that the moment was right for him to place himself as the leader of the opposition against the absolute monarchy of Charles X, present himself as the candidate of a constitutional monarchy, in between the unpopular absolute monarchy and the republicanism. In this, she defeated the view of her Maria Amalia, loyal to the reigning older branch; when rumors arrived that the royalists were going to arrest Louis-Philippe, he evacuated to Raincy and the children were sent to Villers-Cotterêts, but Adélaïde and Maria Amalia remained at Neuilly.
When a delegation reached Neuilly and offered Louis-Philippe the crown, Maria Amalia refused the offer on behalf of herself and her spouse, reproaching Ary Scheffer and Adolphe Thiers for insulting them by having made it. Adélaïde, accepted it with the argument that her brother would do anything to prevent the country he loved from anarchy. Thiers accepted the answer of Adélaïde rather than the one from Maria Amalia with the words: "Madame, you have given the crown to you
National Museum of Natural History
The National Museum of Natural History is a natural history museum administered by the Smithsonian Institution, located on the National Mall in Washington, D. C. United States, it is open 364 days a year. In 2016, with 7.1 million visitors, it was the fourth most visited museum in the world and the most visited natural-history museum in the world. Opened in 1910, the museum on the National Mall was one of the first Smithsonian buildings constructed to hold the national collections and research facilities; the main building has an overall area of 1,500,000 square feet with 325,000 square feet of exhibition and public space and houses over 1,000 employees. The museum's collections contain over 126 million specimens of plants, fossils, rocks, human remains, human cultural artifacts, it is home to about 185 professional natural-history scientists—the largest group of scientists dedicated to the study of natural and cultural history in the world. The United States National Museum was founded in 1846 as part of the Smithsonian Institution.
The museum was housed in the Smithsonian Institution Building, better known today as the Smithsonian Castle. A formal exhibit hall opened in 1858; the growing collection led to the construction of the National Museum Building. Covering a then-enormous 2.25 acres, it was built in just 15 months at a cost of $310,000. It opened in March 1881. Congress authorized construction of a new building on June 28, 1902. On January 29, 1903, a special committee composed of members of Congress and representatives from the Smithsonian's board of regents published a report asking Congress to fund a much larger structure than planned; the regents began considering sites for the new building in March, by April 12 settled on a site on the north side of B Street NW between 9th and 12th Streets. The D. C. architectural firm of Hornblower & Marshall was chosen to design the structure. Testing of the soil for the foundations was set for July 1903, with construction expected to take three years; the Natural History Building opened its doors to the public on March 17, 1910, in order to provide the Smithsonian Institution with more space for collections and research.
The building was not completed until June 1911. The structure cost $3.5 million dollars. The Neoclassical style building was the first structure constructed on the north side of the National Mall as part of the 1901 McMillan Commission plan. In addition to the Smithsonian's natural history collection, it housed the American history and cultural collections. Between 1981 and 2003, the National Museum of Natural History had 11 acting directors. There were six directors alone between 1990 and 2002. Turnover was high as the museum's directors were disenchanted by low levels of funding and the Smithsonian's inability to define the museum's mission. Robert W. Fri was named the museum's director in 1996. One of the largest donations in Smithsonian history was made during Fri's tenure. Kenneth E. Behring donated $20 million in 1997 to modernize the museum. Fri resigned in 2001 after disagreeing with Smithsonian leadership over the reorganization of the museum's scientific research programs. J. Dennis O'Connor, Provost of the Smithsonian Institution was named acting director of the museum on July 25, 2001.
Eight months O'Conner resigned to become the vice president of research and dean of the graduate school at the University of Maryland. Douglas Erwin, a paleontologist at the National Museum of Natural History, was appointed interim director in June 2002. In January 2003, the Smithsonian announced that Cristián Samper, a Colombian with an M. Sc. and Ph. D. from Harvard University, would become the museum's permanent director on March 31, 2003. Samper founded the Alexander von Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute and ran the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute after 2001. Smithsonian officials said. Under Samper's direction, the museum opened the $100 million Behring Hall of Mammals in November 2003, received $60 million in 2004 for the Sant Hall of Oceans, received a $1 million gift from Tiffany & Co. for the purchase of precious gems for the National Gem Collection. On March 25, 2007, Lawrence M. Small, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and the organization's highest-ranking appointed official, resigned abruptly after public reports of lavish spending.
On March 27, 2007 Samper was appointed Acting Secretary of the Smithsonian. Paul G. Risser, former chancellor of the University of Oklahoma, was named Acting Director of the Museum of Natural History on March 29. Samper's tenure at the museum was not without controversy. In May 2007, Robert Sullivan, the former associate director in charge of exhibitions at the National Museum of Natural History, charged that Samper and Smithsonian Undersecretary for Science David Evans ordered "last minute" changes in the exhibit "Arctic: A Friend Acting Strangely" to tone down the role of human beings in the discussion of global warming, to make global warming seem more uncertain than depicted. Samper denied that he knew of any scientific objections to the changes, said that no political pressure had been applied to the Smithsonian to make the changes. In November 2007, The Washington Post reported that an interagency group of scientists from the Department of the Interior, NASA, Nati