The Smithsonian Institution, founded on August 10, 1846 "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge," is a group of museums and research centers administered by the Government of the United States. The institution is named after British scientist James Smithson. Organized as the "United States National Museum," that name ceased to exist as an administrative entity in 1967. Termed "the nation's attic" for its eclectic holdings of 154 million items, the Institution's nineteen museums, nine research centers, zoo include historical and architectural landmarks located in the District of Columbia. Additional facilities are located in Arizona, Massachusetts, New York City, Texas and Panama. More than 200 institutions and museums in 45 states, Puerto Rico, Panama are Smithsonian Affiliates; the Institution's thirty million annual visitors are admitted without charge. Its annual budget is around $1.2 billion with two-thirds coming from annual federal appropriations. Other funding comes from the Institution's endowment and corporate contributions, membership dues, earned retail and licensing revenue.
Institution publications include Air & Space magazines. The British scientist James Smithson left most of his wealth to his nephew Henry James Hungerford; when Hungerford died childless in 1835, the estate passed "to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase & diffusion of knowledge among men", in accordance with Smithson's will. Congress accepted the legacy bequeathed to the nation, pledged the faith of the United States to the charitable trust on July 1, 1836; the American diplomat Richard Rush was dispatched to England by President Andrew Jackson to collect the bequest. Rush returned in August 1838 with 105 sacks containing 104,960 gold sovereigns. Once the money was in hand, eight years of Congressional haggling ensued over how to interpret Smithson's rather vague mandate "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge." The money was invested by the US Treasury in bonds issued by the state of Arkansas, which soon defaulted.
After heated debate, Massachusetts Representative John Quincy Adams persuaded Congress to restore the lost funds with interest and, despite designs on the money for other purposes, convinced his colleagues to preserve it for an institution of science and learning. On August 10, 1846, President James K. Polk signed the legislation that established the Smithsonian Institution as a trust instrumentality of the United States, to be administered by a Board of Regents and a Secretary of the Smithsonian. Though the Smithsonian's first Secretary, Joseph Henry, wanted the Institution to be a center for scientific research, it became the depository for various Washington and U. S. government collections. The United States Exploring Expedition by the U. S. Navy circumnavigated the globe between 1838 and 1842; the voyage amassed thousands of animal specimens, an herbarium of 50,000 plant specimens, diverse shells and minerals, tropical birds, jars of seawater, ethnographic artifacts from the South Pacific Ocean.
These specimens and artifacts became part of the Smithsonian collections, as did those collected by several military and civilian surveys of the American West, including the Mexican Boundary Survey and Pacific Railroad Surveys, which assembled many Native American artifacts and natural history specimens. In 1846, the regents developed a plan for weather observation; the Institution became a magnet for young scientists from 1857 to 1866, who formed a group called the Megatherium Club. The Smithsonian played a critical role as the U. S. partner institution in early bilateral scientific exchanges with the Academy of Sciences of Cuba. Construction began on the Smithsonian Institution Building in 1849. Designed by architect James Renwick Jr. its interiors were completed by general contractor Gilbert Cameron. The building opened in 1855; the Smithsonian's first expansion came with construction of the Arts and Industries Building in 1881. Congress had promised to build a new structure for the museum if the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition generated enough income.
It did, the building was designed by architects Adolf Cluss and Paul Schulze, based on original plans developed by Major General Montgomery C. Meigs of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, it opened in 1881. The National Zoological Park opened in 1889 to accommodate the Smithsonian's Department of Living Animals; the park was designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The National Museum of Natural History opened in June 1911 to accommodate the Smithsonian's United States National Museum, housed in the Castle and the Arts and Industries Building; this structure was designed by the D. C. architectural firm of Hornblower & Marshall. When Detroit philanthropist Charles Lang Freer donated his private collection to the Smithsonian and funds to build the museum to hold it, it was among the Smithsonian's first major donations from a private individual; the gallery opened in 1923. More than 40 years would pass before the next museum, the Museum of History and Technology, opened in 1964.
It was designed by the world-renowned firm of Mead & White. The Anacostia Community Museum, an "experimental store-front" museum created at the initiative of Smithsonian Secretary S. Dillon Ripley, opened in the Anacostia neighborhood of
Pierre C. Cartier
Pierre Camille Cartier was a French jeweler. He was one of the brother of Jaques Cartier and Louis Cartier. Pierre's grandfather, Louis-François Cartier had taken over the jewelry workshop of his teacher Adolphe Picard, in 1847, thereby founding the famous Cartier jewelry company. In 1902, Pierre opened and began to manage the London Cartier store and in 1909, he opened the New York store, moving it in 1917 to the current location of 653 Fifth Avenue, the neo-Renaissance mansion of banker Morton Plant. After the death of his brothers in 1942, Pierre based his shop in Paris until he retired to Geneva in 1947. Cartier became the owner of the Hope Diamond and on January 28, 1911 sold it to Edward B. McLean. In a deal concluded in the offices of the McLean family's Washington Post newspaper, Pierre Cartier sold the diamond for US$180,000. A clause in the sale agreement for the diamond, believed to bring death and disaster to its owner, stated that "Should any fatality occur to the family of Edward B.
McLean within six months, the said Hope diamond is agreed to be exchanged for jewelry of equal value". By March, the diamond had not been paid for in accordance with the terms in the sale agreement. Cartier hired a lawyer to sue McLean for payment who responded by saying it was on a loan for inspection. On February 2, 1912 the New York Times reported that the "Wealthy Purchasers of Famous Stone to Retain It Despite Sinister Reputation. "
The Hope Diamond is one of the most famous jewels in the world, with ownership records dating back four centuries. Its much-admired rare blue color is due to trace amounts of boron atoms. Weighing 45.52 carats, its exceptional size has revealed new findings about the formation of gemstones. The jewel is believed to have originated in India, where the original stone was purchased in 1666 by French gem merchant Jean-Baptiste Tavernier as the Tavernier Blue; the Tavernier Blue was cut and yielded the French Blue, which Tavernier sold to King Louis XIV in 1668. Stolen in 1791, it was recut, with the largest section acquiring its "Hope" name when it appeared in the catalogue of a gem collection owned by a London banking family called Hope in 1839. After going through numerous owners, it was sold to Washington socialite Evalyn Walsh McLean, seen wearing it, it was purchased in 1949 by New York gem merchant Harry Winston, who toured it for a number of years before giving it to the National Museum of Natural History in 1958, where it has since remained on permanent exhibition.
The Hope Diamond has long been rumored to carry a curse due to agents trying to arouse interest in the stone. It was last reported to be insured for $250 million; the Hope Diamond known as Le Bijou du Roi, Le bleu de France, the Tavernier Blue, is a large, 45.52-carat, deep-blue diamond, now housed in the National Gem and Mineral collection at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D. C, it is blue to the naked eye because of trace amounts of boron within its crystal structure, exhibits a red phosphorescence under exposure to ultraviolet light. It is classified as a Type IIb diamond, has changed hands numerous times on its way from India to France to Britain and to the United States, where it has been on public display since, it has been described as the "most famous diamond in the world". Weight: In December 1988, the Gemological Institute of America's Gem Trade Lab determined that the diamond weighed 45.52 carats. Size and shape: The diamond has been compared in size and shape to a pigeon egg, walnut, a "good sized horse chestnut", "pear shaped."
The dimensions in terms of length and depth are 25.60 mm × 21.78 mm × 12.00 mm. Color: It has been described as being "fancy dark greyish-blue" as well as being "dark blue in color" or having a "steely-blue" color; as colored-diamond expert Stephen Hofer points out, blue diamonds similar to the Hope can be shown by colorimetric measurements to be grayer than blue sapphires. In 1996, the Gemological Institute of America's Gem Trade Lab examined the diamond and, using their proprietary scale, graded it fancy deep grayish blue. Visually, the gray modifier is so dark that it produces an "inky" effect appearing blackish-blue in incandescent light. Current photographs of the Hope Diamond use high-intensity light sources that tend to maximize the brilliance of gemstones. In popular literature, many superlatives have been used to describe the Hope Diamond as a "superfine deep blue" comparing it to the color of a fine sapphire, "blue of the most beautiful blue sapphire", describing its color as "a sapphire blue".
Tavernier had described it as a "beautiful violet". Emits a red glow: The stone exhibits an unusually intense and colored type of luminescence: after exposure to short-wave ultraviolet light, the diamond produces a brilliant red phosphorescence that persists for some time after the light source has been switched off, this strange quality may have helped fuel "its reputation of being cursed." The red glow helps scientists "fingerprint" blue diamonds, allowing them to "tell the real ones from the artificial." The red glow indicates that a different mix of boron and nitrogen is within the stone, according to Jeffrey Post in the journal Geology. People think of the Hope Diamond as a historic gem, but this study underscores its importance as a rare scientific specimen that can provide vital insights into our knowledge of diamonds and how they are formed in the earth. Clarity: The clarity was determined to be VS1, with whitish graining present. Cut: The cut was described as being "cushion antique brilliant with a faceted girdle and extra facets on the pavilion."
Chemical composition: In 2010, the diamond was removed from its setting in order to measure its chemical composition. According to Smithsonian curator Dr. Jeffrey Post, the boron may be responsible for causing the blue color of the stones after tests using infrared light measured a spectrum of the gems. Touch and feel: When Associated Press reporter Ron Edmonds was allowed by Smithsonian officials to hold the gem in his hand in 2003, he wrote that the first thought that had come into his mind was: "Wow!" It was described as "cool to the touch." He wrote:You cradle the 45.5-carat stone—about the size of a walnut and heavier than its translucence makes it appear—turning it from side to side as the light flashes from its facets, knowing it's the hardest natural material yet fearful of dropping it. Hardness: Diamonds in general, including the Hope Diamond, are considered to be the hardest natural mineral on the Earth, but because of diamond's crystalline structure, there are weak planes in the bonds which permit jewelers to slice a diamond and, in so doing, to cause it to sparkle by refracting light in different ways.
The Hope Diamond was formed deep within the Earth
Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art is an art museum located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, on 53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. MoMA plays a major role in developing and collecting modernist art, is identified as one of the largest and most influential museums of modern art in the world. MoMA's collection offers an overview of modern and contemporary art, including works of architecture and design, painting, photography, illustrated books and artist's books and electronic media; the MoMA Library includes 300,000 books and exhibition catalogs, over 1,000 periodical titles, over 40,000 files of ephemera about individual artists and groups. The archives holds primary source material related to the history of contemporary art; the idea for the Museum of Modern Art was developed in 1929 by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller and two of her friends, Lillie P. Bliss and Mary Quinn Sullivan, they became known variously as "the Ladies", "the daring ladies" and "the adamantine ladies". They rented modest quarters for the new museum in the Heckscher Building at 730 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, it opened to the public on November 7, 1929, nine days after the Wall Street Crash.
Abby had invited A. Conger Goodyear, the former president of the board of trustees of the Albright Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, to become president of the new museum. Abby became treasurer. At the time, it was America's premier museum devoted to modern art, the first of its kind in Manhattan to exhibit European modernism. One of Abby's early recruits for the museum staff was the noted Japanese-American photographer Soichi Sunami, who served the museum as its official documentary photographer from 1930 until 1968. Goodyear enlisted Paul J. Frank Crowninshield to join him as founding trustees. Sachs, the associate director and curator of prints and drawings at the Fogg Museum at Harvard University, was referred to in those days as a collector of curators. Goodyear asked him to recommend a director and Sachs suggested Alfred H. Barr, Jr. a promising young protege. Under Barr's guidance, the museum's holdings expanded from an initial gift of eight prints and one drawing, its first successful loan exhibition was in November 1929, displaying paintings by Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne, Seurat.
First housed in six rooms of galleries and offices on the twelfth floor of Manhattan's Heckscher Building, on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, the museum moved into three more temporary locations within the next ten years. Abby's husband was adamantly opposed to the museum and refused to release funds for the venture, which had to be obtained from other sources and resulted in the frequent shifts of location, he donated the land for the current site of the museum, plus other gifts over time, thus became in effect one of its greatest benefactors. During that time it initiated many more exhibitions of noted artists, such as the lone Vincent van Gogh exhibition on November 4, 1935. Containing an unprecedented sixty-six oils and fifty drawings from the Netherlands, as well as poignant excerpts from the artist's letters, it was a major public success due to Barr's arrangement of the exhibit, became "a precursor to the hold van Gogh has to this day on the contemporary imagination"; the museum gained international prominence with the hugely successful and now famous Picasso retrospective of 1939–40, held in conjunction with the Art Institute of Chicago.
In its range of presented works, it represented a significant reinterpretation of Picasso for future art scholars and historians. This was wholly masterminded by Barr, a Picasso enthusiast, the exhibition lionized Picasso as the greatest artist of the time, setting the model for all the museum's retrospectives that were to follow. Boy Leading a Horse was contested over ownership with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. In 1941, MoMA hosted the ground-breaking exhibition, Indian Art of the United States, that changed the way American Indian arts were viewed by the public and exhibited in art museums; when Abby Rockefeller's son Nelson was selected by the board of trustees to become its flamboyant president in 1939, at the age of thirty, he became the prime instigator and funder of its publicity and subsequent expansion into new headquarters on 53rd Street. His brother, David Rockefeller joined the museum's board of trustees in 1948 and took over the presidency when Nelson was elected Governor of New York in 1958.
David subsequently employed the noted architect Philip Johnson to redesign the museum garden and name it in honor of his mother, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden. He and the Rockefeller family in general have retained a close association with the museum throughout its history, with the Rockefeller Brothers Fund funding the institution since 1947. Both David Rockefeller, Jr. and Sharon Percy Rockefeller sit on the board of trustees. In 1937, MoMA had shifted to offices and basement galleries in the Time-Life Building in Rockefeller Center, its permanent and current home, now renovated, designed in the International Style by the modernist architects Philip L. Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone, opened to the public on May 10, 1939, attended by an illustrious company of 6,000 people, with an opening address via radio from the White House by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. On April 15, 1958, a fire on the second floor destroyed an 18 foot long Monet Water Lilies painting (the current Mone
New York City
The City of New York called either New York City or New York, is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2017 population of 8,622,698 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles, New York is the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 20,320,876 people in its 2017 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 23,876,155 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural and media capital of the world, exerts a significant impact upon commerce, research, education, tourism, art and sports; the city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.
Situated on one of the world's largest natural harbors, New York City consists of five boroughs, each of, a separate county of the State of New York. The five boroughs – Brooklyn, Manhattan, The Bronx, Staten Island – were consolidated into a single city in 1898; the city and its metropolitan area constitute the premier gateway for legal immigration to the United States. As many as 800 languages are spoken in New York, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world. New York City is home to more than 3.2 million residents born outside the United States, the largest foreign-born population of any city in the world. In 2017, the New York metropolitan area produced a gross metropolitan product of US$1.73 trillion. If greater New York City were a sovereign state, it would have the 12th highest GDP in the world. New York is home to the highest number of billionaires of any city in the world. New York City traces its origins to a trading post founded by colonists from the Dutch Republic in 1624 on Lower Manhattan.
The city and its surroundings came under English control in 1664 and were renamed New York after King Charles II of England granted the lands to his brother, the Duke of York. New York served as the capital of the United States from 1785 until 1790, it has been the country's largest city since 1790. The Statue of Liberty greeted millions of immigrants as they came to the U. S. by ship in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is an international symbol of the U. S. and its ideals of liberty and peace. In the 21st century, New York has emerged as a global node of creativity and entrepreneurship, social tolerance, environmental sustainability, as a symbol of freedom and cultural diversity. Many districts and landmarks in New York City are well known, with the city having three of the world's ten most visited tourist attractions in 2013 and receiving a record 62.8 million tourists in 2017. Several sources have ranked New York the most photographed city in the world. Times Square, iconic as the world's "heart" and its "Crossroads", is the brightly illuminated hub of the Broadway Theater District, one of the world's busiest pedestrian intersections, a major center of the world's entertainment industry.
The names of many of the city's landmarks and parks are known around the world. Manhattan's real estate market is among the most expensive in the world. New York is home to the largest ethnic Chinese population outside of Asia, with multiple signature Chinatowns developing across the city. Providing continuous 24/7 service, the New York City Subway is the largest single-operator rapid transit system worldwide, with 472 rail stations. Over 120 colleges and universities are located in New York City, including Columbia University, New York University, Rockefeller University, which have been ranked among the top universities in the world. Anchored by Wall Street in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan, New York has been called both the most economically powerful city and the leading financial center of the world, the city is home to the world's two largest stock exchanges by total market capitalization, the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ. In 1664, the city was named in honor of the Duke of York.
James's older brother, King Charles II, had appointed the Duke proprietor of the former territory of New Netherland, including the city of New Amsterdam, which England had seized from the Dutch. During the Wisconsinan glaciation, 75,000 to 11,000 years ago, the New York City region was situated at the edge of a large ice sheet over 1,000 feet in depth; the erosive forward movement of the ice contributed to the separation of what is now Long Island and Staten Island. That action left bedrock at a shallow depth, providing a solid foundation for most of Manhattan's skyscrapers. In the precolonial era, the area of present-day New York City was inhabited by Algonquian Native Americans, including the Lenape, whose homeland, known as Lenapehoking, included Staten Island; the first documented visit into New York Harbor by a European was in 1524 by Giovanni da Verrazzano, a Florentine explorer in the service of the French crown. He named it Nouvelle Angoulême. A Spanish expedition led by captain Estêvão Gomes, a Portuguese sailing for Emperor Charles V, arrived in New York Harbor in January 1525 and charted the mouth of the Hudson River, which he named Río de San Antonio.
The Padrón Rea
Robert Mouawad Private Museum
The Robert Mouawad Private Museum is a private residence in Beirut's Zokak el-Blat quarter, turned into a museum by the Lebanese businessman Robert Mouawad. The palace was built in the neo-gothic style by the Lebanese politician and art collector Henri Philippe Pharaoun in 1911; the museum was inaugurated on May 11, 2006. It houses objects of value reflecting a mix of artistic oriental and occidental cultures, a rare collection of books, Chinese porcelain and other significant objects; the palace's architecture and design reflects Pharaoun's infatuation with Islamic Art and decorative wooden panels that date back to the 17th century after his repetitive travels to Syria. Other displayed artifacts include Byzantine mosaics, Roman marble sculptures and jugs, historical columns, ancient weapons, unique carpets, sophisticated jewelry pieces, rare precious stones, Melkite Catholic icons, preserved manuscripts
Abdul Hamid II
Abdul Hamid II was the 34th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and the last Sultan to exert effective control over the fracturing state. He oversaw a period of decline, with rebellions in the Balkans, had an unsuccessful war with the Russian Empire followed by a successful war against the Kingdom of Greece in 1897. Hamid II ruled from August 31, 1876 until he was deposed shortly after the 1908 Young Turk Revolution, on April 27, 1909. In accordance with an agreement made with the Republican Young Ottomans, he promulgated the first Ottoman Constitution of 1876 on December 23, 1876, a sign of progressive thinking that marked his early rule. However, he noticed Western influence on Ottoman affairs and citing disagreements with the Parliament, suspended both the short-lived constitution and Parliament in 1878 and accomplished effective power and control. Modernization of the Ottoman Empire occurred during his reign, including reform of the bureaucracy, the extension of the Rumelia Railway and Anatolia Railway and the construction of the Baghdad Railway and Hejaz Railway.
In addition, a system for population registration and control over the press was established along with the first local modern law school in 1898. The most far-reaching of these reforms were in education: many professional schools were established, including Law School, School of Arts, School of Trades, Civil Engineering School, The Veterinarian School, The Customs School, The Farming School, The Linguistic School, more; the University of Istanbul, although shut down by Hamid II in 1881, was reopened in 1900, a network of secondary and military schools was extended throughout the empire. Railway and telegraph systems were developed by German firms. During his reign, the Ottoman Empire became bankrupt leading to the establishment of Ottoman Public Debt Administration in 1881. Abroad, Abdul Hamid II was nicknamed the Red Sultan or Abdul the Damned due to the massacres against Armenians and Assyrians during his rule and use of the secret police to silence dissent and republicanism; these initiatives led to an assassination attempt in 1905 by Armenian revolutionaries, contributing to the sultan's worsening paranoia until his eventual removal from the throne.
Abdul Hamid II was born at the Topkapı Palace in Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, on September 21, 1842. He was the son of Sultan Abdulmejid and Tirimüjgan Kadınefendi named Virjinia. After the death of his mother, he became the adoptive son of his father's wife, Valide Sultan Rahime Perestu, he was a skilled carpenter and crafted some high-quality furniture, which can be seen today at the Yıldız Palace, Sale Kosku and Beylerbeyi Palace in Istanbul. Abdul Hamid II was interested in opera and wrote the first-ever Turkish translations of many opera classics, he composed several opera pieces for the Mızıka-yı Hümâyun, hosted the famous performers of Europe at the Opera House of Yıldız Palace, restored in the 1990s and featured in the film Harem Suare of the Turkish-Italian director Ferzan Özpetek Unlike many other Ottoman sultans, Abdul Hamid II visited distant countries. Nine years before he took the throne, he accompanied his uncle Sultan Abdülaziz on his visit to Paris, London and the capitals or cities of a number of other European countries in the summer of 1867.
Abdul Hamid ascended to the throne following the deposition of his brother Murad on 31 August 1876. At his accession, some commentators were impressed that he rode unattended to the Eyüp Sultan Mosque where he was given the Sword of Osman. Most people expected Abdul Hamid II to support liberal movements, however, he acceded the throne in 1876 in a difficult and critical period for the Empire. Economic and political turmoil, local wars in the Balkans, in addition, the Russian-Ottoman war of 1877–78 threatened the existence of the Ottoman Empire. Abdul Hamid used these difficult times to recreate the absolutist regime and to dissolve the parliament and usurping all political power until his overthrow. Abdul Hamid worked with the Young Ottomans to realize some form of constitutional arrangement; this new form in its theoretical space could help to realize a liberal transition with Islamic arguments. The Young Ottomans believed that the modern parliamentary system was a restatement of the practice of consultation, or shura, which had existed in early Islam.
On 23 December 1876, due to the 1875 insurrection in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the war with Serbia and Montenegro and the feeling aroused throughout Europe by the cruelty used in stamping out the Bulgarian rebellion, Abdul Hamid promulgated the constitution and its parliament. The international Constantinople Conference towards the end of 1876 was surprised by the promulgation of a constitution, but European powers at the conference rejected the constitution as a significant change. In any event, like many other would-be reforms of the Ottoman Empire change, it proved to be nearly impossible. Russia continued to mobilize for war. However, eve