National Institute

Originally the National Institute for the Promotion of Science and the Useful Arts, and founded by Joel Poinsett, the National Institute was established for the purpose of maintaining specimens returned from Charles Wilkes' expedition to the South Seas. It was later renamed the National Institute and Levi Woodbury replaced Poinsett. During the period of Smithsonian establishment, there was a movement to use the Smithsonian money to fund a museum of natural history as part of the National Institute.