Smithsonian Myths

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Considering the Smithsonian's somewhat quirky beginnings (James Smithson, the guy who founded it, was a Brit who never set foot on American soil), it's no small wonder that a garden of myths has grown up around the institution. From haunted hallways to cursed gemstones, the Smithsonian is at the center of its fair share of tall tales. But the question remains: where do these stories come from, and do any of them have a kernel of truth at their core? After doing some digging and asking around, we have come up with a list of ten notable Smithsonian myths—and the stories behind them—that we think will raise an eyebrow and induce a laugh or two, not to mention clear up a few longstanding misconceptions about the museums and the objects that populate the collections.

Find the right answer in the article.

About Jesse Rhodes

Jesse Rhodes is an editorial assistant for Smithsonian magazine. Before he became an editorial assistant, Jesse worked at the Library of Congress Publishing Office, where he was a contributor to the Library of Congress World War II Companion.

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