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THE SMITHSONIAN REPORT

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

The annual report of the Smithsonian Institute lists a long series of impressive achievements during the fiscal year ending June 30. Probably very few people realize the multiplicity of its undertakings, the worth of its achievements, and the great handicaps, chiefly financial under which it labors.

In the field of scientific research the institute has directed or taken grant in 40 expeditions for astronomical research, anthropological surveys, the collection of wild game, the study of crustaceans, and for archeological, geological, paleontological, botanical investigations. The institute bandled also 480,776 packages in the exchange of scientific and government documents to 56 countries. The museum has acquired 254,032 new specimens of various sorts. The national gallety received as gifts a considerable number of works of art. The figures are heavy and dull in themselves but behind them is the combined activity of thousands of the keenest mines in the country, experts in science, builders of the future. Their work is a lasting one, a series of great achievements.

But through the report there runs one unvarying and disquieting note. The erection of a solar radiation station was made possible only by the gift of $55,000 from the National Geographic Society. An expedition to East Africa was financed by a private individual. Fifty thousand dollars was gathered by subscription to purchase a valuable insect collection. The private means of the Institute permitted the publication of only eight short papers in the Smithsonian series. The National Art Gallery is squeezed into a part of the museum wholly inadequate to permit of growth and occupying space needed for specimens. The United States is the only country in the world without a national gallery worthy of the name, yet Congress merely sets aside and leaves the collection of funds to private enterprise.

It is unfortunate that the Institute should stumble under the double burden of doing its great work collecting money to make that work possible. Some method should be provided, whether by Congressional appropriation or otherwise whereby this organization shall be forever relieved from the unfitting position of a beggar supporting itself to great extent on private gifts. It is one of those very rare activities which deserve unlimited endowment from a country overflowing with wasted wealth.

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