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In 1846, when the Smithsonian Institution was officially established, Joseph Henry was named its first secretary-a position he held for more than three decades. During that time Henry did ml encourage the development of a museum, believing that the very limited resources of the privately endowed fledgling organization should be alocated to scientific research. But he understood the value of displaying the artifacts of science as a way to improve public understanding and stimulate an interest in science among young people. So when Congress appropriated funds in the 1850s to support museum activities, Henry not only allowed his own apparatus to be displayed, but he also encouraged some of his friends to donate similar items.