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Welcome distinguished guests, friends,
American citizens, visitors from abroad,
and all fellow seekers of knowledge.
Welcome to the Smithsonian Institution.
I am Joseph Henry, the first Secretary of the Smithsonian.
I accepted the office in 1846,
and I have returned to invite you to enter upon a voyage of discovery.
The Smithsonian is not for a day, but is designed to endure
for as long as our government shall exist. James Smithson our magnanimous benefactor
knew that the seeds of great discovery are constantly floating around us,
but that they only take root in minds well-prepared to receive them.
Our Smithsonian Institution offers that preparation to you and others like you.
Science, history, artistic expression,
all of this knowledge is alive here in Washington.
Now I have lived so long in Washington
that I have not the highest regard for partisan politics.
In fact, Washington is nothing but a pandemonium.
Owing to the Smithsonian, opportunities to expand your mind are all around you.
On this national mall, throughout our capital city,
and everywhere the Smithsonian reaches across our nation and planet.
We offer the opportunity to aspire to a higher condition of humanity
to pour fresh material upon the pyramid of knowledge
and thus enlarge a space for all who follow.
The highest enjoyment vouchsafe to man
in this life is perhaps the discovery of new truths.
Here before you stands the opportunity for such discovery,
but what you make of it is entirely up to you.
Open your minds ladies and gentlemen.
Open your minds as you journey through life and as you journey through the Smithsonian!